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Clarion and council partners awarded £5.2m to help deliver Government’s decarbonisation drive

Some 450 of the least energy efficient social housing properties in Fenland, Merton and Tonbridge and Malling are set to be upgraded over the next twelve months after details of the opening phase of a landmark Government decarbonisation drive were revealed in January.

Thanks to a successful bid from Fenland District Council, Clarion Housing Group, has been awarded £5.2m as part of the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave One – an initial £179m programme which in total will boost the energy efficiency of around 20,000 social homes across England by March 2023.

Clarion, the country’s largest social landlord, will now partner Fenland, Merton and Tonbridge and Malling councils to ‘retrofit’ and reduce the carbon emissions of hundreds of its least energy efficient homes across the three regions – in turn saving residents hundreds of pounds a year on energy bills.

The £5.2m funding package, announced in February, will enable Clarion to upgrade 200 homes in each of Fenland and Tonbridge and Malling, as well as a further 50 in the London Borough of Merton.

The landlord will prioritise homes which score an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower. Retrofit measures will include fitting external wall and roof insulation, energy efficient doors and windows.

This week’s funding award enables Clarion to build on its success of participating in the SHDF demonstrator, in which it upgraded 120 homes across both Fenland and Tonbridge and Malling – each, too, having an EPC score of D or below before work began.

Clarion match-funded £4.5m from Government to deliver the pilot between 2021 and 2022, creating around 70 jobs and apprenticeships for local people. The wave one funding announced this week is expected to boost the local economy further by creating even more jobs in Fenland.

Government’s wave one allocation – granted to 69 English local authorities, including Fenland – forms part of its wider £3.8bn SHDF package aiming to bring a significant portion of the country’s social housing stock up to a higher EPC standard.

Rob Lane, Chief Property Officer at Clarion Housing Group, said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding and are thrilled to again demonstrate our role as key partner to Government in leading the nation’s retrofit revolution.

“In line with our wider commitment to sustainability, we are looking forward to working with partnering councils to make even more of our housing stock ‘zero carbon ready’ and reduce residents’ energy bills at a time of significant energy price growth.”

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said:

“This funding will make a real difference to hundreds of Clarion Housing Group tenants with upgrades such as better home insulation cutting energy bills by up to £200 a year.

"The £3.8 billion we’re investing through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is making homes right across the country warmer, more comfortable and greener at the same time as keeping more money in people’s pockets.”

Clarion resident Mrs Challice, 79, whose home was upgraded as part of the pilot, said:

“I was visited every day by the resident liaison officer to check in, and the team on site were brilliant. They explained what was happening and how long it would take, and I appreciate how much work has been done to my home.”

Clarion will use the funding from wave one to complement its existing retrofit progamme, a core element of its nationwide commitment to reaching zero carbon in all its housing stock – new and existing – by 2050.

The landlord has already invested over £10m in retrofitting its homes, completing more than 3,100 individual upgrades ranging from insulation measures to air source heat pumps across England.

It has also pledged to deliver all of its new housing as net zero carbon compatible by 2025, targeting zero waste to landfill and ensuring at least 75% of all build materials are responsibly sourced by this time.