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Reaching energy efficiency target could cost council hundreds of millions

12 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Loft insulation being fitted. Photo Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A local authority claims meeting new Welsh housing quality standards could cost it hundreds of millions of pounds over the next decade.

The council, along with other local authorities in Wales, will be required to meet a range of new requirements set out by the Welsh Government to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Vale Council officials told councillors at a homes and safe communities scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, April 10, that achieving the new standard on time will be a challenge and that its current resources are “not going to be anywhere near enough” to achieve what needs to be achieved.

Meeting the Welsh Government’s Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) target will ultimately require council housing stock to achieve 90% energy efficiency by 2034.

Vale of Glamorgan Council operational manager for building services Andrew Treweek said initial assessments carried out by the council show the work required to achieve the goal would cost about £50,000 per property, which would amount to £200m over the next 10 years.


Mr Treweek said: “Welsh Government are well aware that that is going to be a challenge and they are also aware that not every local authority or social landlord will be able to achieve the standard by the preferred target date of 2034.”

He added the target “may need to be stretched” and the council is waiting to see how various technologies to decarbonise households develop to make sure tenants aren’t “plunged into fuel poverty unnecessarily”.

Mr Treweek said: “There is quite clearly a climate emergency so this work does need to be undertaken, but it also need to be affordable.

“The one thing we don’t want to be doing is ploughing ahead in investing money into a housing stock that doesn’t deliver the results that we are expecting in thermal efficiency and decarbonisation and at the same time plunging our tenants into fuel poverty.”


In response to questions asked by scrutiny committee member, Cllr Belinda Loveluck Edwards, Mr Treweek said the council will be reliant on external consultants to support visits to all council properties – 4,000 in total.

He also said the cost of achieving the new housing quality standard could “quite possibly” be higher than what the council currently estimates due to market forces, like the demand for decarbonising technologies across the country.

The council’s head of housing and building services, Mike Ingram said: “We are investing in our stock for the future generations that will come after us and this council, as we are aware, is looking to meet that challenge head on in our work under Project Zero and the carbon reduction work that we are doing.

“It is a challenge, but we are doing everything we can to meet it.”

The homes and safe communities scrutiny committee will receive an update on the council’s progress on WHQS 2023 in six months.

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