- New research by Regen says that a local approach to heat decarbonisation is vital to delivering national net zero targets
- Central government should devolve powers and funding for local heat infrastructure and supply chain development
- Report warns that benefits of heat transition will be felt unevenly without better targeting of in-need areas
A new report published today [6 July] by clean energy experts Regen calls for national government to equip local authorities with the powers, resources and support to lead heat decarbonisation. The report argues that local leadership is vital to ensure every region in the UK can reap the rewards of reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels for heat – helping to bring down bills and cut one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the UK.
The report highlights that the current lack of clarity on the local authority role in heat decarbonisation means each area is spending significant resource to carve out an independent path to net zero heat, leading to replication of effort and increased delivery costs.
Analysis in the report on the distribution of the Green Homes Grant also shows that funding is not reaching the most in-need areas, perpetuating a ‘postcode lottery’ and leaving poorer areas missing out on the benefits of decarbonised heat.
The report provides six recommendations for how central government should empower local authority leadership on developing local heat infrastructure and kickstarting the local retrofit market and supply chain, including:
- Agreeing ‘Energy Efficiency Zones’ that fairly distribute funding to where it is most needed.
- Giving local authorities a statutory role in Energy Network Price Controls to ensure that critical energy network infrastructure meets local needs.
- Targeting public procurement to build the retrofit market and local supply chains.
Poppy Maltby, head of cities and regions at Regen, commented, “Local authorities across the country want to take the lead on decarbonising heat in their local areas and to ensure the benefits reach their communities. However, they lack the powers, resources and responsibilities to achieve their local net zero aspirations.
What local authorities need is much clearer and more comprehensive support and guidance from central government that gives them a voice in the development of local heat infrastructure and a role in kickstarting the local retrofit market and supply chain – helping to prepare their area for the heat transition.”
Merlin Hyman, chief executive at Regen, commented, “Delivering energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation is on the critical path to addressing our national objectives of levelling up the country, shielding ourselves from rising gas prices, and cutting one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the UK.
With the right support, local authorities could play a key leadership role in decarbonising our homes and businesses, whilst addressing the inequalities that are being felt by those at the sharp end of the current energy and economic crises.”