Color image depicting a crowd of people, thrown into silhouette and therefore unrecognisable, walking alongside modern futuristic architecture of glass and steel. In the distance we can see the ancient and iconic dome of St Paul's cathedral

Upgrades for public buildings in England to boost net zero push

Public buildings across England are set to be boosted with half a billion pounds worth of investment as they look to upgrade with affordable, low carbon heating and other energy efficient measures.

These measures are estimated to save £650 million of public organisation and taxpayer money a year on average, over the next 15 years and are part of a £2.5 billion government spend to upgrade public sector buildings between 2020 and 2025.

Lord Callanan, Business and Energy Minister, said:

“Using cleaner technology to heat our civic buildings is helping to shield public sector organisations from costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices.

This funding will bring significant savings for taxpayers of well over half a billion pounds each year by making public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, whilst supporting economic growth and jobs across the country.”

These buildings include hospitals, schools, libraries, museums, and leisure centres across the country and will be funded through the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Upgrades are already underway, and grants have been awarded to 381 public sector organisations across England under the first two parts of the scheme, with phase one alone supporting up to 30,000 clean jobs in the clean heating and energy efficiency sectors.

As part of the £6.6 billion of investment that the government is providing, the aim is set to cut fossil fuel use and emissions from buildings whilst also creating high skill, high wage jobs across sectors.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

“Here in Greater Manchester, we know we need to be taking bold and meaningful steps at every level to become carbon neutral by 2038. By moving towards a greener economy, we can foster new skills and create thousands of good jobs, powering our recovery from the pandemic and charting a good course to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

The £100m funding that we’ve been awarded so far is helping our public sector to lead the way in this effort, showing exactly what we can achieve with the right investment and a collaborative approach. We’ve retrofitted more than 130 public buildings and cur more than 8,000 tonnes of harmful emissions, at the same time as supporting and safeguarding almost 2,000 jobs in our local economy.”

Supporting the goal of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75% in comparison to numbers from 2017, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is funding £1.425 billion worth of upgrades through phase three over three years, until 2025.

There will be multiple chances for public sector organisations to secure their funding through phase three of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and guidance on how to apply for the next round, Phase three b, will be published in July, with the application window planned to open in September.

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