Lack of funding identified in council's plans to retrofit buildings

Plans to retrofit buildings across North Tyneside to make them warmer and greener is lacking funding, a report has found.

By Austen Shakespeare
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 3:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:53 pm
Plans to retrofit buildings across North Tyneside to make them warmer and greener is lacking funding, a report has found.

North Tyneside Council’s economic prosperity committee has been tasked with producing a retrofitting strategy across the borough. In doing so, it has identified a number of barriers including cost and a skills gap which will need to be addressed before the widescale retrofitting can take place.

In November 2021 the committee was tasked to look into the steps required to lower the carbon footprint of residential, public, commercial and industrial buildings in the borough.

The report identified retrofitting as the most effective method of reducing emissions. Retrofitting is the process of upgrading existing buildings usually with the installation of insulation and introducing renewable energy sources such as solar panels.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The committee also needed to address the skills gap to make such retrofitting possible. The report aims to help the local authority’s 2030 net zero commitment.

The report said: “The sub committee are aware that over the years there have been many policy initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of homes but consider that there is now a new and real sense of urgency and momentum created by the energy crisis, the climate emergency, and the national and local net zero targets.”

With regards to upskilling the labour force, the committee acknowledged there will need to be a borough-wide assessment to detail the skills needed for the scale of the retrofit.

Some training providers such as Tyne Coast College are already training their construction and engineering students with green skills in areas like sustainability and retrofitting.

Also, the North of Tyne Combined Authority has funded Geon Training Solutions to support its aims to train its labourers in green construction.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority has, however, already acknowledged the challenge. To achieve net zero by 2030 over 80,000 homes will need to be retrofitted by 2027.

The cost of this is estimated at £13bn, an amount not covered by current levels of funding.

The report tasks North Tyneside council’s communication officers within the council to enable ‘Green Finance’ to flow into the borough, to support the gap in retrofitting funding.

The report and its recommendations will now be sent to the cabinet.