7 Response to Council Motion: Retrofitting Insulation
The Executive Member for Corporate Policy and Resources.
That the Executive:
1) Noted the motion as presented to Full Council on 7 April 2022.
2) Agreed the importance of retrofitting insulation to domestic properties in the borough, both because of the reductions in carbon emissions that this brings and its ability to improve living conditions and reduce energy bills for residents.
3) Noted the work that is currently underway by officers in relation to domestic retrofit (including in relation to areas of activity covered in the Council motion) and the progress that has been made to date, but also the scale of the challenge associated with domestic retrofit, and the need for Government action to help enable activity to be scale up both nationally and locally to achieve carbon reduction targets.
4) Agreed that the Leader of the Council write to the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and COP26 President requested government support to address the domestic retrofit challenges faced by local government generally and in Reigate & Banstead specifically.
5) Requested that the Head of Corporate Policy keeps the need for a local retrofit task force and local training and delivery partnerships under review and that any additional actions required are proposed via the annual Environmental Sustainability Strategy progress report.
Executive Member for Corporate Policy and Resources, Councillor Lewanski, set out the response to a Council motion on proposals relating to retrofitting insulation into domestic properties. This was referred from Council on 7 April 2022 for consideration by the Executive.
Councillor Lewanski highlighted the following points also set out in a report to the Executive to recognise the work the council is doing and future plans:
· The Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy’s Action Plan and Progress Report include objectives on energy efficiency and to support residents to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions in their homes. This includes domestic energy efficiency measures such as the insulation referred to in this motion.
· Installing energy efficient measures in homes can also include savings on energy bills, improved living conditions and create local jobs.
· Recent achievements include working with partners such as Raven Housing Trust and Accent Housing to secure £1.5m Government funding to retrofit homes and working with Surrey County Council to promote the Green Jump Surrey initiative to bring about 111 energy efficiency measure installations to the value of £840,000.
· As activities were already in place, a number of the motion proposals were not accepted as they duplicated work already happening or were not cost effective.
· Existing arrangements were working well but task groups would be kept under review as part of the ongoing annual reporting process.
· It was accepted that the Leader would write to Government requesting further policy and financial support to address the insulation and other domestic retrofit challenges and scale of change needed.
The Leader, Councillor Brunt, announced that government funding had been successfully awarded to Raven Housing Trust (the largest social housing provider in the borough), to enable them to retrofit their properties for the most vulnerable people in the community. The Council had supported Raven in their funding bid to government.
Councillor Booton, who moved the motion to Council in April, said he was pleased to see the progress that had been made so far. However, he asked for proposals in the motion that had not been accepted, to be kept under review. He noted that paragraph 19 of the report acknowledged that despite the wide range of ongoing activities, without further funding, the limited resources and powers available would not be sufficient to deliver against national carbon reduction targets locally.
The Leader said he was pleased to be able to support a good part of the motion. His letter to Government would set out funding and action needed to give powers to enable local authorities to bring about change. The borough worked closely with Surrey County Council and across political parties to achieve change needed.
Visiting Members set out their experience of working in this field. Delivering retrofit housing was a complex and costly process but the benefits to residents were immense. The Council needed to be ready to go once funding and more devolved powers were in place. Training people locally to provide retrofitting skills needed in the industry was vital and could provide ... view the full minutes text for item 7