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Housing Retrofit Planning Group

Row of houses

Becoming England’s greenest region means taking urgent action to reduce the environmental impact of our existing homes, working towards net zero carbon emissions from housing.

Our region has a proud history. But homes built to meet the needs of our people in the past present challenges for the North East’s zero-carbon future. With our existing homes responsible for around a quarter of the North East’s carbon emissions, decarbonising our homes is an essential step in our response to the climate emergency.

The North East must retrofit our 1.2m homes so that they meet high standards of energy efficiency, and to transition home heating to zero-carbon sources.

The housing retrofit group’s ambition is that every one of the region’s homes achieves a minimum energy performance rating of EPC ‘C’ by 2030, with an urgent transition to net zero emissions in the years to follow.

The housing retrofit group has been meeting since late 2020 and intends to provide leadership toward that ambition, recognising that our ambition requires a step-change in capacity and delivery, and that while our collaboration is locally-rooted, the scale of our ambition requires national backing.

So far, the group has instigated a range of activity, including:

The group is now focusing on responding to the findings of the social housing research : including on skills, data and collaborative approaches; and developing activity in relation to the region’s private rented and owner-occupied homes.

The retrofit group is chaired by Paul Fiddaman (CEO Karbon Homes) and coordinated by the Northern Housing Consortium. For more information, contact Anna.Seddon@northern-consortium.org.uk

In summer 2021, Northumbria University carried out a study of decarbonisation progress in social housing in North East England among social housing providers. The study was undertaken on behalf of Northern Housing Consortium and NEECCo and was funded by North East and Yorkshire Energy Hub.

Twenty four housing providers were asked to provide housing stock data, complete an online survey and take part in interviews, in order to assess the current energy performance of existing social housing stock, explore plans for achieving decarbonisation targets (EPC C by 2030 and net zero by 2050), inform supply chains of likely future procurement needs for products and services in the sector, and assess the potential impact of acceleration.

The full report can be read and downloaded below.

What’s happening now

The recent major external development is that announcement of the successful Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 bids. There’s £14.2m coming into the North East from this – about 8% of the total, which is slightly ahead of social housing stock in England. This funding runs through to end of March 2023; we expect a further wave to be launched in the Autumn, and we’re discussing with BEIS the potential for them to support collaborative bids.

Sir Paul Ennals, chair of NEECCo spoke at a large national conference on Retrofit on behalf of the NEECCo Retrofit Group around the topic of Collaborative Working.

Additional Resources

If you’d like more information on Retrofit, here are a few useful websites:

Housing | Promoting Rural Issues | Community Action Northumberland (ca-north.org.uk)

Home – CENE

Home | Northern Housing Consortium (northern-consortium.org.uk)