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London Mayor calls for a ‘retrofit revolution’ to tackle the climate emergency

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared a ‘retrofit revolution’ in London, announcing a new package of measures that will make existing buildings more energy efficient and tackle climate change.

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Housing Barking Visit (Photo Credit © Greater London Authority)
Housing Barking Visit (Photo Credit © Greater London Authority)

Working with London Councils and social housing providers, the Mayor has outlined ambitious plans to boost London’s Green New Deal mission and sustain and create new green jobs in the capital.

Homes and workplaces in London are responsible for 78% of the capital’s carbon emissions and all will require retrofit work to meet the 2050 net zero targets.

The capital’s social housing stock require updates to make them as energy efficient as possible with improvements to insultation, low-carbon heat and clean power sources, to deliver climate targets and tackle fuel poverty.

The Mayor’s Innovation Partnership will make it easier for social landlords and UK building firms to work together to upgrade ageing homes in the capital. The scheme will link up housing providers and builders through all stages of home retrofitting, from planning through to large-scale delivery. The partnership has the potential value of £10 billion in retrofit works, which could create around 150,000 jobs over the decade. The Innovation Partnership is open to social housing providers across the UK, with at least £5 billion estimated that could be spent in London.

Sadiq Khan has also been backed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for London to lead the country by creating a national retrofit centre of excellence to help assist social housing providers gain access to funding for major retrofit projects.

As a key part of the London Mayor’s target of reaching net zero by 2030, the focus will be on seizing the opportunity for more solar energy on London’s rooftops. The energy programmes are expected to more than double the amount of clean energy London generates from solar, but more investment is needed to ensure the capital goes much further.

Work is underway with Solar Energy UK to invest in creating a solar workforce, with programmes to support the development of skills and more training in solar technologies, battery storage, vehicle charging and smart technology.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“Creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency are two of my priorities for London and that’s why I am delighted London is leading the way on a retrofit revolution. With the COP26 summit taking place later this year, it’s vital that we show how London is leading the way with our Green New Deal.

“A strong economic recovery from COVID-19 and a green recovery are not mutually exclusive. This transformative approach to retrofit will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes, and could play a vital role cutting energy bills and tackling fuel poverty. It will also support Londoners with the skills they need for jobs in the green economy, rebuilding our city post-COVID so that it’s cleaner, greener and fairer.”

Director of Policy and Places at UK Green Building Council, John Alker, said:

“Improving the carbon performance of our buildings is critical if we are going to meet our net zero goals, and although an enormous challenge it also presents a tremendous opportunity. The successful delivery of local retrofit programmes can not only improve resident’s quality of life through upgrading the energy efficiency of their homes and tackling the danger of cold and damp homes, but it can also act as a catalyst for creating green jobs and upskilling the supply chain. If we are going to succeed, ambitious local leadership and a genuine partnership approach is essential, and we warmly welcome today’s announcement by the Mayor of London.”

Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said:

“We are delighted to launch this project with the Mayor of London. Solar power is clean, cheap and easy to deploy. Solar Skills London will help ensure that London’s workforce has the skills and training to deliver these benefits to the capital, supporting a green economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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