Aerial view of rows of energy efficient new build modular terraced houses in the UK

Government backing council net zero projects

Certain combined authorities have been selected to take part in a pilot programme to accelerate climate change action, whilst also unlocking private investment.

Through the £19 million programme, backed by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and West Midlands Combined Authority will launch Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots, supporting further investment in green projects across a number of sectors. These sectors are essential to the delivery of national climate targets and include transport, housing, and energy.

Lord Callanan quote pilot

As part of the projects, the combined authorities will make decisions on how funding will be allocated, choosing projects that will prove to benefit their communities. These could include:

  • Housing retrofit
  • Solar panel installation
  • Battery storage
  • Deploying green buses

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:

“The UK is a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change. But the work we do locally is just as important for cutting emissions and delivering net zero.

“These projects will help combined authorities to unlock private sector investment that they can spend on green projects they see fit locally, whether that be retrofitting housing or investing in green public transport networks – all while supporting skilled jobs, building out supply chains and growing our economy.”

Considering the issues that councils have previously experienced with attracting private sector funding for smaller net zero projects, this funding has been specifically designed to overcome those challenges and expand decarbonisation programmes.

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, added:

“The government’s decision to ask our region to help lead the drive to net zero represents a real vote of confidence in what we can do and indeed are already doing here in the West Midlands.

“Whether it’s the strides we’re making to retrofit homes – making them warmer and more energy efficient – or cutting energy bills for local businesses or indeed ensuring our transport network is more sustainable, we’re taking the practical steps on the ground to advance the net zero cause.

“Together, we can help draw in the required public and private finance that will accelerate the rollout and take up of net zero related projects right across the UK as a whole.”

Councillor Tom Ross, Greater Manchester’s Green City Lead, also commented:

“We welcome the £7 million funding to accelerate our net zero ambitions across Greater Manchester over the next two years. Greater Manchester has established Local Area Energy Plans which identify the £12.5 billion of investment in infrastructure required, that is substantially under local authorities influence, to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions by 2038.

“This Accelerator funding from government will be used to design investment models to attract private investment – which is scalable, replicable and which leads to securing investment partners capable of delivering at scale.”

Separate to the pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, a project will be launched in the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority. This will be looking to replicate the successful Bristol City Leap model.


Image credit: iStock

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