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Renewable tech helping helping insulate the West Midlands


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Up to 2,000 old and cold homes across the West Midlands are to get energy saving insulation, low carbon heating systems and other fuel reducing technology after the region secured more than £19 million of government funding.


The money, which follows a successful bid co-ordinated by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) into the government’s Sustainable Warmth Competition, comes as the region seeks to ramp up action to tackle climate change, reduce fuel poverty and support its #WM2041 ambition to be net zero within the next 20 years.


Homes chosen by the councils will undergo a range of retrofit measures designed to slash energy consumption, fuel costs and carbon emissions. Work will be designed following an assessment of each home to make sure the most effective action is undertaken. Measures could include external cladding of the property – to make sure no more heat is lost – and the installation of new energy sources such as solar panels and ground or air-source pumps.


The success of the bid builds on a previous collaboration between the WMCA and local authorities which has already secured £35 million for the retrofit of homes across the West Midlands.


Michael Gallagher, head of Midlands Energy Hub, welcomed the award: “We’re delighted to have secured this major funding for the Midlands. It demonstrates quite clearly the importance of a collaborative, regional approach to attracting government investment and to the delivery of net zero solutions on the ground.


“We’re also pleased to be working with the WMCA to build a powerful partnership across the Midlands region which is helping to generate capacity among our local authorities to ensure that energy measures are applied where they are most needed most and delivered in the most effective way.”


Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment, energy and HS2 and leader of Solihull Council, added: “This funding from government is encouraging but it should only be seen as the start of what will be needed to drive a much wider transition towards more environmentally friendly housing that can both cut carbon and tackle fuel poverty.”


The WMCA’s Net Zero Neighbourhoods project announced by the Mayor at COP26 involves retrofitting homes with insulation and green heating on a wider, street-by-street basis alongside other low carbon infrastructure such as on-street electric vehicle charging points.


The project’s collaboration between the public and private sectors is also seen as a pioneering approach to retrofit investment


The Mayor announced at COP26 that global built environment consultancy Arup would become the programme’s first private sector partner, working on a Net Zero Neighbourhood in Wolverhampton.


Written by: David Watkins

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