Decarbonising heat is a critical and complex challenge that will need both national and local government to work together effectively. In response to this challenge, Regen explored what a national – local partnership on delivering clean heat could look like in England.

Project duration: January 2022-June 2022

Website Setup3– Regen, The decarbonisation of heat paper, 2020

Energy efficiency and low carbon heating are not just about the climate emergency; they have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, build healthy resilient communities and create new green jobs.*

However, despite some notable successes at a local and community level, progress across England is slow. The market is still in it’s infancy, public engagement is poor and the supporting policy isn’t there.

The Committee on Climate Change’s independent assessment of the Net Zero Strategy in 2021 also highlighted the need for greater clarity:

The Net Zero Strategy recognises that 30% of the emissions reductions that will be needed depend on actions that involve local authorities. It represents a positive first step in acknowledging the role that local leaders can play in engaging their communities and delivering change that works within their local contexts, and in identifying steps to unlock effective local delivery.

However, greater clarity is needed on the roles of different layers of government to enable a full contribution from local actors, along with adequate resourcing and strengthened capacity and capability.

No single group or method is capable of setting us on the path towards zero carbon heating. While there is consensus that there will be commonalities, each region, community and household must be empowered to do what makes the most sense given their circumstances. Read more on our thoughts on this here.

We also know that a level of strategic planning is required both locally and nationally, supply chains need some initial support and we need to present as a clear, cohesive front to the public.

*BRE estimates excess cold in poor housing costs NHS England around £1 billion a year.
Greenpeace estimates over 100,000 new jobs could be created by 2030 in the UK for fabric measures and changing to low carbon heating.
According to a study by Energy & Climate, gas boilers account for a fifth of NOx emissions in Greater London, a gas which significantly raises risk of chronic mortality.

Our approach to developing the framework

Our aim was to develop the framework for a national and local partnership on decarbonising heat. We wanted this work to reflect the work of local authorities and other organisations that have already made important contributions to developing this policy area and we engaged extensively stakeholders along the way to gather ideas and input throughout the process.

The project explored three core areas:

The framework

The final publication sets out the powers and responsibilities localities need to: carry out heat planning for their area; ensure the skills and infrastructure are in place; and lead a conversation with their communities and consumers on the need for a major renovation of our homes and buildings. We provide six recommendations for how central government could empower local authority leadership in these areas:

Local Delivery Recommendation Summary

Our previous work which led to this project

Thought leadership:

Advisory work:

Other communications:


This project was funded by the European Climate Foundation.
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People on this project

Tim Crook
Senior Project Manager
Tim is a mechanical engineer with a broad range of experience in onshore heat…
Merlin Hyman
Chief Executive
Merlin leads Regen’s mission to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon energy system. Under…
Poppy Maltby
Head of Local Energy
Poppy is Head of Local Energy at Regen. She is leading our work to…
Sophie Whinney
Senior Energy Analyst
Sophie has a masters in Engineering Design from the University of Bristol, where she…
Hazel Williams
Associate Director
Hazel is responsible for Regen’s project delivery, leading on resourcing, quality assurance and developing…

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