Louise Hutchins, Head of Policy & Public Affairs at the UK Green Building Council:  

Reimagining and renewing the places we live, work and play is one of the best ways for an incoming government to tackle some of the country’s most palpable crises — from soaring energy, housing and health costs, to hollowed out town centres, communities repeatedly hit by flooding and overheating, and the breakdown of our climate and nature. The built environment industry stands ready to help as an active partner, but any government wanting to show big tangible improvements will need to put their shoulder behind a much bolder approach than we’ve seen up to now. That means leadership from the top, comprehensive long-term strategies that communities and investors can get behind and a step-change in government investment surgically targeted where its most needed.

This must include a new national plan for the UK’s cold and draughty homes, which waste expensive energy out of every uninsulated wall, roof and door. A national home retrofit programme is common sense, it ticks so many boxes: it will bring down bills, make homes more comfortable, healthy, and reduce the country’s carbon emissions, while generating skilled new jobs and saving billions for the NHS. Couple this with tree-lined streets to ease air pollution, overheating and flooding, greener new developments and upgrading our public and commercial buildings and you have a package that voters will really notice.” 

The next government must commit to a step-change in investment in home insulation and introduce a range of game-changing policies aimed at reimagining and renewing the places we live, work and play in order to tackle multiple crises facing the UK, said the UKGBC, a coalition of more than 700 built environment businesses and organisations.  

Launching its policy manifesto for the next general election, the UK Green Building Council has called for the next UK government to seize the opportunity to upgrade homes, offices and public spaces in order to tackle some of the UK’s most intractable problems, from soaring energy, housing and health costs, to left-behind and vulnerable communities, and climate and nature breakdown.  

At the heart of the manifesto is a call for a £64 billion programme of national government investment over the next decade on retrofit to bring down energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create 140,000 skilled jobs.   

This investment in home insulation, replacing gas boilers with electric heat pumps, and other low carbon measures, would save £60 billion in grid upgrade costs over 10 years, as well as saving £22 billion for the NHS over the same period. A further £9bn will be cut from household energy bills saving the average household £300 per year. 

As part of a national retrofit programme, the manifesto also calls for the introduction of an Energy Saving Stamp Duty that incentivises homeowners to make sustainable upgrades to their homes, driving a long-term mass-scale sustainable market for measures such as insulation, heat pumps and solar panels.  

These two flagship policies form part of a manifesto that provides the next government with a long-term plan for upgrading the UK’s built environment. This is focused on four areas:   

  1. Making sustainable home insulation upgrades easy, affordable and   attractive  
  2. Making new developments high quality, well-connected and green  
  3. Protecting communities from climate risks  
  4. Renewing town centres 

Within these areas, the UKGBC calls for a suite of powerful policies aimed at transforming the country’s built environment, which is responsible for 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions. This is essential for the UK to meet its carbon reduction commitments and deliver more resilient, productive and healthier communities.