Letwin proposes retrofit of all homes by 2017

Oliver Letwin this afternoon announced radical new plans to retrofit the entire British housing stock. But the proposals, which appeared to preempt a speech by Greg Clark tomorrow, provoked questions over the cost and feasibility of the proposals.

Oliver Letwin this afternoon announced radical new plans to retrofit the entire British housing stock. But the proposals, which appeared to preempt a speech by Greg Clark tomorrow, provoked questions over the cost and feasibility of the proposals.

Speaking at a Climate Clinic event at the fringe of Conservative Party conference, Mr Letwin, answering a question about the need to address emissions from existing properties said:

“We’re going to be making an announcement about this. The condition of the housing stock is such that an enormous quantity of improvements can be made … We think it is possible to mobilise the funds in an appropriate way to have, by 2017, a retrofit of the entire British housing stock.”

Questioner Henry Gregg – Public Affairs manager at National Housing Federation, speaking exclusively to Left Foot Forward afterwards – said:

“We would welcome any inititiatve designed to impove the energy efficiency of British homes as they represent 27% of all emissions and they will also help to tackle fuel poverty.

“There has always been a need to undergo a massive retrofit of domestic properties to achieve the statutory climate change targets. The issue is exactly how this will be paid for. I look forward to seeing what the Conservative party are proposing.”

Gregg said that currently only 1 per cent of privately built new homes reach Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes (i.e. the level to which housing associations build). There are around 28 million homes in the UK.

Event Chair, Peter Madden said:

“The financing is potentially in place. The problem is consumer demand – whether tenants will let builders in their house – and whether we can get the skills up to speed.”

UPDATE: The cost of the scheme could rise to £162.5 billion if each of Britain’s 25 million households requiring retrofits took up the Conservative party’s promise of “granting an entitlement to households to approved home energy efficiency works up to a value of £6,500.”

The Conservative party say they would pay for the scheme, “through the existing energy companies or through local authorities, or to create a separate vehicle to authorise commission, supervise and finance the work carried out.” To achieve the goal by 2017 would mean retrofitting over 3.5 million homes and a cost of up to £23.2 billion per year.

The Labour government has committed to have all suitable lofts and cavity walls insulated by 2015 and 7 million homes (a quarter of the country’s housing stock) to have undergone a full eco-makeover by 2020.

One Response to “Letwin proposes retrofit of all homes by 2017”

  1. Will Straw

    Letwin appears to preempt tomorrow’s Greg Clark announcement & proposes retrofit of all homes by 2017 //bit.ly/jOBVm

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