BCC sets outs out ambitious plans to retrofit 300 properties costing £27m as part of its commitment to the 3 cities retrofit programme

Birmingham City Council (BCC) has announced its initial contribution to retrofit 300 homes as part of the 3 cities retrofit programme and its commitment to make Birmingham carbon neutral by 2030.

The 300 properties will be located in East Birmingham and will be used to test approaches to improve their thermal efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and provide energy savings for tenants. The pilot will require an initial investment of £27m and will directly support Birmingham’s bold net zero carbon ambitions. The pilot will also be used to address fuel poverty in an affordable and achievable way by developing and implementing innovative solutions and funding models which can be used to scale up whole house retrofit across the city.

Leader of BCC Ian Ward said ‘These 300 properties are just the start of our ambitious plans to ensure that all our housing stock is carbon neutral by 2030. The council has a large estate consisting of over 60,000 homes and the delivery of the 3 Cities Whole House Retrofit Pilot presents us with a great opportunity to progress towards our net zero carbon ambitions. This exciting pilot will also make a significant contribution to economic recovery and growth through creating employment and skills opportunities for local businesses and the local community. The economic and health benefits this can bring to the city in the future are considerable but we need to support a just transition which brings everyone with us’.

Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Housing & Homelessness, added ‘BCC’s housing stock is a large net contributor to the city’s carbon emissions, accounting for 26% of the city’s total. Tackling these heat emissions and achieving a ‘net zero’ position is key to us achieving our route to zero commitment. We need to improve the thermal efficiency of our housing stock to reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy bills, address fuel poverty and support a just transition to a zero carbon city. This pilot will show us the way to do this and underpin our strategy for long term investment in our housing stock.’

The pilot scheme is intended to make a step towards realising these ambitions while allowing the Council to apply an incremental learning approach to works, incorporate future technology available, and begin the route to zero work on Council stock without committing the Council to unaffordable levels of borrowing.

Notes to editors

1. The full paper can be accessed at https://birmingham.cmis.uk.com/birmingham/Search.aspx and Birmingham ‘3 Cities’ Whole House Retrofit Pilot

2. The 3 Cities Retrofit is developing a programme across the three cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. It represents one of the largest retrofit initiatives in the UK which could cover nearly 165,000 social homes and help shape retrofit of many more social and private homes across the region. It aims to develop an integrated programme reflecting the diversity of the housing portfolios and models in the cities. It seeks to address barriers, build capacity and capability, and draw up funding, financing and delivery options as well as harness the institutional strengths across the city and region.

3. Alongside the retrofit pilot detailed in this paper, the paper puts forward a 10-year plan for redevelopment of between £40m-£80m per annum. The pilot, funded from the Housing Improvement budget within the HRA, is to trial retrofit on 300 properties in order to open up funding opportunities, find efficiencies in technology and process, and stimulate the market towards retrofit, so that a mix of retrofit and rebuild can be used to meet the carbon reduction targets on the entire Council stock over the longer term.

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