The WMCA’s plans – or lack of them – for home retrofit to cut energy use and fuel costs

The plans to address climate change in the West Midlands are being driven by the WMCA. The individual local Councils have a subordinate role.

On 19 March 2021 the WMCA Board approved an 88 page Five Year Plan Executive Summary for 2021 to 2026 “to deliver energy efficient homes for up to 294,000 dwellings, with low carbon heating in 292,000,… reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and creating jobs” – “up to 21,000 by 2026”. These are mainly social housing. According to the WMCA’s Environment and Energy Board in March 2022, “to meet the 2041 target and interim targets set out in the Five Year Plan, one home every two minutes will need to become net zero” on the basis of a 40 hour week.

The WMCA estimates the investment required to 2026 to fund the Five Year Plan as follows:

  • Domestic energy efficiency retrofit – £1,246m
  • Domestic heating retrofit – £2,275m
  • Domestic solar PV – £332m

The total required is £3,853million.

The WMCA’s Environment and Energy Board announced in March 2022 that the total funding gained so far was £26.6million.

The reality is the Five Year Plan relies very largely on “developing investable propositions to stimulate the market” in private investment. This was made clear in the WMCA’s presentation of its “Net Zero Strategy – Themes” at COP26: the first theme was a “Strong emphasis on private investment and ‘green finance’ – need for investable propositions”. And the problem is that this investment is not forthcoming, as the Environment and Energy Board Report Environment Behaviour Change Update on 9 March 2022 explains: “Energy infrastructure spending is not aligned with local economic priorities which is proving a significant barrier to business investment.” In other words, business can make more profit by investing elsewhere rather than in the green economy. What the WMCA doesn’t say is that only a massive increase in Government funding can fill the gap, and that it will lead a mass public campaign in the West Midlands to demand it.

The above are extracts from a new analysis of the WMCA’s plans – or lack of them – for retrofit – ‘Retrofit policy in the West Midlands‘. For the full paper click on the link below to the Climate Action Network West Midlands (CANWM) Google drive:


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