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Decarbonising homes to meet Net Zero targets will cost £20,000, MPs warn

The Times

We told you so …

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) the costs for Net Zero in 2050 are ‘manageable’: “…we estimate an increased annual resource cost to the UK economy from reaching a net-zero [greenhouse gas] target that will rise to around 1–2% of GDP by 2050.”

In 2019 the UK Parliament agreed to decarbonise the economy (“Net Zero”). Ahead of the debate, the minister, Chris Skidmore, informed MPs that the cost of achieving the target would be modest — between 1–2% of GDP in 2050.

Yet, the Climate Change Committee and the Treasury have resisted attempts to have their ‘manageable cost’ calculations disclosed under FOI legislation. Even more remarkably, the CCC has admitted that it has not actually calculated a cost for the period 2020–2049. In short, the decision by Parliament to undertake the complete decarbonisation of the UK economy was uncosted.

In the meantime, the GWPF has instituted a project to do so on their behalf and has published a series of papers analysing the estimated cost of Net Zero and submitting evidence to Parliament. This work is ongoing, but the running total is approaching £4 trillion; or around £150,000 per household.

Now, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has warned that the decarbonisation of the UK housing stock will be much more expensive than ministers have claimed.

Adapting homes to meet climate targets will be far more expensive than the government claims and could cost more than £20,000 a property, MPs say.

Ministers are “failing to grasp the enormous challenge of decarbonising the housing stock”, the Commons environmental audit committee said.

Nearly 19 million properties, two thirds of the total, would fail to achieve a grade C energy performance certificate, the minimum standard which the climate change committee has said all homes must meet by 2035 for Britain to hit its legally binding target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy estimates that it will cost between £35 billion and £65 billion to bring all homes up to the C rating. The committee said that this estimate implied a cost of between £1,800 and £3,400 per property but did not include the supplying and fitting an electric heat pump in place of a gas boiler.

The committee heard evidence that retrofitting a property to grade C could cost about £18,000, while a heat pump could add another £5,000 to the total. “Therefore, the cost is likely to be far greater than the government’s estimate,” the committee said.

Philip Dunne, the committee’s Conservative chairman, said: “Making 19 million homes ready for net-zero Britain by 2050 is an enormous challenge that the government appears to have not yet grasped. Government investment to improve energy efficiency has been woefully inadequate.”

The Conservative election manifesto in 2019 pledged £9.2 billion of investment to improve the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals. Dunne said: “Sixteen months on, there appears to be no plan nor meaningful delivery.”

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