- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
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Mike Hedges asks Welsh Government what it is doing to decarbonise housing; he asks for support for decarbonising older owner occupied and private rented houses.
Speaking from the Senedd, local Swansea East MS, Mike Hedges said… ‘I am pleased that Swansea Council have invested in new energy efficient housing but I am very concerned about older housing stock, especially in the rented sector where landlords often have no capital to spend on their properties. I am pleased that the Welsh Government is using Rent Smart Wales to try to identify rented properties which need attention and then for trying to identify funding options. I would urge any landlords with properties which need updating to look out for the funding opportunities which exist.’
- Will the Minister provide an update on decarbonising housing? OQ57878
Thank you. We have introduced new build standards for social homes, which banish the use of fossil fuels, with ambitions for private developers to adopt these requirements by 2025. We also continue to invest in the optimised retrofit programme, exploring the most effective and efficient ways of decarbonising existing social housing stock. 10
I thank the Minister for that answer. I personally would like to commend Swansea Council and local registered social landlords on the work that the have done in decarbonising their new housing. I represent a constituency that has a large number of owner-occupied and privately rented houses, which were built in the nineteenth century. What progress has been made to reduce heat loss from private and privately rented housing? And what is the plan to decarbonise these houses? I recognise it’s going to be long and I recognise it’s going to be difficult. 11
Well, I’d like to echo what Mike Hedges said about Swansea Council. I think it’s an excellent example of a partnership between a Labour-run local authority and a Welsh Labour Government. They themselves have invested some £60 million this financial year in warmer, more energy efficient homes, creating some 25 new low-carbon homes, as well as a programme of energy efficiency for existing homes, totalling around £46 million. I think that is a tremendous effort on their part to deal with the cost of living crisis, by providing practical help to deal with fuel poverty and addressing the net zero challenge. 12
On the issue of private houses, we are very fortunate that we have Rent Smart Wales, which is something other parts of the UK don’t have, which allows us to map the properties in the private sector to see which ones are not currently meeting minimum energy efficiency standards. And then, with that information, we can look at what mix of grant and loan is needed to incentivse those homes to meet the standard and to exceed it. We’re taking an approach, as Mike Hedges knows, of trialling our optimised retrofit programme, which is a £220 million investment by us, and taking what we describe as a ‘fabric first’ approach, recognising that there have been difficulties with retrofit programmes across the UK over the last few years and all houses are different. In particular, Wales has an old housing stock, with very varied housing stock, and what might be a solution for a terraced house in the Valleys might be different for a suburban bungalow. So, we need to trial, which we are, different fabrics to understand what would be the most efficient, and when we understand those practicalities, we can then set out a pathway towards decarbonisation.
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