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Combined Authority upskills local residents to deliver Green Homes Grant


Combined Authority upskills local residents to deliver Green Homes Grant

Work to address the rising cost of living and reduce fuel poverty in the county is picking up pace as the Combined Authority steps up provision of the Green Homes Grant and focuses on longer term support by providing local residents training in the green skills required to deliver this and address future needs. 

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is the ‘Accountable Body’ for the Greater South Eastern Net Zero Hub (GSENZH), which covers 136 Local Authorities.  

Amongst other work the GSENZH is currently delivering the Green Homes Grant and the Sustainable Warmth Programme. The Green Homes Grant retrofits vulnerable communities’ homes with net zero carbon energy saving devices across the South East. The scheme aims to reduce the carbon footprint of homes and ultimately reduce the cost of energy bills for households.  

40% of UK carbon emissions come from households therefore this sector cannot be ignored when tackling the climate emergency.  

Retrofitting homes with energy saving devices, such as heat pumps, has required ensuring that there is a supply chain of locally skilled workers to carry out the task. The Combined Authority, and partners, have used this as an opportunity host a round table to progress solutions to fulfil future needs and develop a skills agenda, offering training to local residents’ in the green skills required, such as retrofitting heat pumps. 

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson, said:  

“The GSENZH covers 46% of the population of England across a large and diverse area with significant fuel poverty and a less established retrofit supply chain than other parts of the country. Schemes of this size are complex, and the Combined Authority has taken on the challenge to tackle the barriers head on. The scheme has taken time to mobilise but is now gaining traction in its supply chain and delivery is increasing.    

“The scheme has had an overwhelming response. Pressures from increasing fuel prices, the cost of living and inflation is driving demand and there have already been over 13,000 households referred across the region.  

“The key challenge remains the availability of people with the skills to carry out this work  and GSENZH, local authorities and our delivery partner, Warmworks, have been working hard to overcome some significant barriers to delivery. This has included supply chain capacity, building trust in such schemes and quality issues with Retrofit assessors and installers.  

“However, more work needs to be done. We are leading the way and have held a regional roundtable to find solutions to develop a pan southeast infrastructure to support retrofit business growth, new entrants and career pathways.  

“Specifically, there are a number of things the Combined Authority is already doing through its Adult Education Budget and Skills Bootcamp programme that trains residents to meet retrofit skills needs. Skills Bootcamps will start in the summer and Adult Education courses in the Autumn.  Our skills team is working closely with its education partners to access funding to develop new immersive technologies in a green skills including retrofitting.”  

To help the delivery of the scheme GSENZH are working closely with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure a maximisation of the resources available. The Combined Authority are also appointing industry experts to undertake studies and working with training commissioners and providers to develop a pan South-East infrastructure to support local residents access the training in the green skills required, offer new career pathways and grow the local retrofit economy. 

Regional roundtable attendee, Simon Evan, Director of operations, Smart Homes Larkfkeet Group of Companies, said: “It is vital during these times of rising costs of living and climate emergency we all play our part, so when we were asked by the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to support moving the home retrofit agenda forward, we were keen to help. We can use our experience, capacity and knowledge to help deliver low energy solutions for residents of the Authority. We will work positively with others in the field to try and crack this challenging but vital task of home low energy and carbon retrofit forward.”