London Lags Behind In Net Zero Target

As per a report by the Greens at City Hall, retrofitting is taking place at an incredibly slow rate in the UK capital
Staff Reporter | UK | Facilities Management

Not nearly enough homes are being insulated in London for the capital to meet its 2030 net zero target, it has been claimed. A report by the Greens at City Hall said retrofitting is happening at an “incredibly slow rate” leaving London years behind. More than two-thirds of London's carbon emissions come from its homes and workplaces.

The report blamed a lack of government funding and leadership from mayor Sadiq Khan. The City Hall said that retrofitting wasn’t happening on the “scale” that the mayor wanted, but thousands had benefited.

Retrofitting is the process of installing new measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes like insulation and double-glazing, or by generating cleaner energy through measures like solar panels and heat pumps. In 2021, Khan vowed to lead a “retrofit revolution”. A recent analysis by Element Energy suggested that 210,000 homes need to be retrofitted each year until 2030 for the capital to reach net zero. But the Greens’ report said that since 2018, only 4,808 privately owned and rented homes were upgraded under the Warmer Homes Programme – less than 1% per cent of what is needed.

The task of insulating the capital’s homes falls to ‘Retrofit London’ - a partnership between the mayor and London's councils. A report said there was a shortage of workers with retrofit skills and the mayor has done little to help through his £320m adult education budget. It claimed London has 16 “fully accredited retrofit coordinators” to provide training when 900 are needed, and only three of the 17 “green hub” colleges funded by the mayor teach retrofit courses.

In the face of criticism over expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (Ulez), the mayor shelved plans for a “zero emission zone” in Central London and ruled out road-user charging based on how far you drive - both measures which are said would help the capital achieve net zero. But Catherine Barber, the GLA’s assistant director for environment and energy, told a London Assembly meeting last week that “London’s net zero by 2030 target is unchanged”.

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