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Decarbonisation report calls for Wales to take a lead

Welsh Government should commit to a 30-year programme to reduce carbon emissions from housing.

That’s just one of the recommendations of an independent report commissioned by Welsh ministers last year and has been produced by an independent Advisory Group on the Decarbonisation of Homes in Wales.

The report, Better Homes, Better Wales, Better World, was chaired by Christopher Jofeh, Arup’s former global buildings retrofit leader.

The group has spent the last 15 months exploring the evidence on how to create the necessary conditions for success, while recognising the political, economic and social challenges of making homes greener and more energy efficient.

They recommend that political parties in Wales should make a strategic commitment to national residential decarbonisation and stick to it.

Welsh Government should:

  • set ambitious energy targets for homes to achieve net zero carbon by 2050
  • put in place the right quality system and delivery mechanisms for all homes to meet the targets
  • develop a holistic package of support for all homes  to motivate and facilitate action
  • collect data about the status and condition of the housing stock to inform future decisions and measure progress
  • continue to monitor and test new solutions to help decarbonise homes.
  • engage communities, networks, associations and third sector organisations to help make the change.

Receiving the report today at an event in Cardiff, housing and local government minister Julie James said:

‘Making our homes greener and more energy efficient will be challenging, especially when you consider that Wales has the oldest and least thermally efficient housing in the UK and Europe.

‘But with this challenge also comes enormous opportunities – lower fuel bills, improved air quality, more comfortable homes, better health, new jobs and skills. We have to be ambitious and creative if we’re going to achieve the change we need.’

Energy, environment and rural Affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said:

‘We are in a climate emergency. Our Low Carbon Action Plan sets out the steps we will take to cut emissions and support the growth of a low carbon economy and this Report is one of the first items we promised.

‘Making our homes greener and more energy efficient is absolutely central to this and, while the Welsh Government will show the leadership, I’ve been very clear that all of us must play our part in achieving a low carbon Wales.

‘This report shows the scale of the challenge ahead but also the many benefits for our society, economy and natural environment.”

Christopher Jofeh said:

‘Now is the time for Wales to take a lead and show how it can be done. The benefits of doing so will be profound and widespread for families, for businesses and for Wales.’

Community Housing Cymru chief executive Stuart Ropke said:

‘A 30-year commitment to reduce the carbon emissions from all housing in Wales is a bold and welcome recommendation from this review. As the report recognises, this will not be easy. Meeting this challenge will require huge levels of government investment and a transformation in the way we build and refurbish homes.

‘As part of our vision of a Wales where good housing is a basic right for all, housing associations have committed to building greener communities and look forward to working with Welsh Government and key partners to achieve this.’

The housing minister will now consider the report’s recommendations and detailed actions and will respond in the Autumn.


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