In response to the White Paper, Simon McWhirter, Director of Communications, Policy & Places at UKGBC, said: 

“Today’s White Paper is a missed opportunity to tackle the scourge of poor housing – a major national home retrofit programme is urgently required to insulate Britain’s left-behind areas from soaring gas prices, and to create tens of thousands of green jobs exactly where they’re most needed. Equally disappointing, is that the Paper is silent on how government intends to support the two thirds of UK households which are owner-occupied, which need to upgrade their draughty, cold homes.   

A new ambition to bring only half of private rented homes up to a decent standard by 2030 is disappointing, as all private landlords are already required to meet a higher energy efficiency standard than that being proposed.   

Climate action can be a powerful engine behind regenerating left-behind areas, and improving both people’s quality of life and the quality of their neighbourhoods. This is a clear and worrying gap in the Government’s vision of how to improve life chances and opportunities across the nation. 

We welcome the announcement of a new wave of devolution; as it’s essential that we give more decision-making powers to the people on the ground who know their area best; from the quality of the housing to the needs of its residents. Local and devolved governments have been a driving force behind progress to improve homes and places and meet Net Zero targets. However, this will need to be coupled with significant new funding if we are to see a step change in the quality of life in the UK’s left-behind communities.”  

UKGBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment details the role a national domestic retrofit programme can play in the Levelling Up agenda, including: 

  • Tackling energy usage from homes, which represents 16% of total UK domestic emissions 
  • Creating up to 500,000 new, higher skilled jobs across the country 
  • Lower energy bills for consumers (£430 average energy bill savings per home, 2% increase in household disposable income) 
  • £56bn health benefits linked to improved air quality and thermal comfort, with 6,000 avoided deaths per year 
  • Accelerated progress towards statutory fuel poverty targets.

A press release announcing the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper can be accessed here.