Government to release £15m in funding as part of new strategy
The UK Government is aiming to boost the number of green mortgages and energy efficiency upgrades in homes with £5 million in funding.
A £10 million innovation fund has also been revealed, with the Government set to offer industry the chance to win a share of the finances if companies design innovative ways of reducing the cost of retrofitting the UK’s old housing stock.
The announcement comes as the part of the new Green Finance Strategy, which states that the UK’s financial services have a huge part to play in ensuring the UK hits it’s recently announced legally binding net zero carbon target by 2050.
The newly announced measures will improve the energy efficiency of 17 million homes and the Government claims that boosting properties with an EPC below Band C will be essential to achieving the net zero benchmark.
Chris Skidmore, Energy and Clean Growth Minister, believes that in order to fulfil the UK’s “world-leading” commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the country needs an overhaul of its housing stock to tackle the disproportionate amount of carbon emissions from buildings.
“By rolling out more green mortgages and reducing the costs of retrofitting older homes we’re encouraging homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes and save money on their energy bills, helping to ensure everyone has access to a warm and comfortable home.”
The green finance strategy details that funding will be awarded to innovative projects that incentivise energy efficiency retrofitting through the Green Home Finance Innovation Fund (GHFIF), while supporting the development of lending products like equity loans and home improvement loans that will help homeowners make upgrades.
The strategy cites offering energy efficiency advice, access to trusted installers and preferential mortgage interest rates to support them in making energy improvements to their homes as examples of schemes that could help earn the GHFIF funding.
The plan also features investment and funding increases into green projects, infrastructures and homes and is built on findings from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.
The strategy includes expectations for publicly listed companies and asset owners to disclose climate risk and impact data by 2022 and to work with regulators as to whether this becomes a mandatory requirement.
Responding to the strategy, John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, argues that although he UK has a long history of leading the way in tackling climate change, it needs to do more to protect the planet for future generations and that London can be instrumental in driving that agenda.
“The City has a vital role to play in securing a greener future for us all. By investing more in sustainable projects it can not only protect our environment, but also help establish London as the preeminent international centre for green finance,” he said.
“The Green Finance Strategy will support this ambition, with new initiatives to boost funding for green ventures and ensure the environment is at the centre of all financial decision-making.”
A Green Finance Education Charter will also be launched to place green finance and climate understandings as part of future qualifications and certificates for financial practitioners.
A total of £5.8bn has also been set aside for international climate finance to encourage other nations to act on climate collaboratively.