UK100 calls for EV-driving Net Zero retrofit army

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The Government is being urged to fund a new Net Zero ‘retrofit army’ and provide half a million tradespeople with incentives switch to electric vans.

In order for the UK to meet its 2050 emissions targets, the UK100 and a group mayors and council leaders are calling for the Government to invest £5 billion and create more than 455,000 jobs in the construction and property sectors.

It says the workers will be needed to improve the efficiency of homes across the country.

As part of the proposed package, the ‘retrofit army’ should be given incentives to switch from diesel and petrol vans to electric vehicles, as well as seamless access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK.

There should also be support to encourage public transport use, walking and cycling.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the UK100 Resilient Recovery Task Force, said: “With the furlough scheme coming to an end, this country now faces both a climate and a jobs emergency—with both requiring urgent action.

“By investing in nearly half a million skilled and secure jobs as part of the Spending Review, the Chancellor could lay the foundation for a resilient and sustainable recovery across the country and ensure that we have the workforce we need to actually build back better and greener. Local authorities are ready to play our part in helping the country meet its legal Net Zero obligations. We will continue to lead the way, in partnership with businesses and the Government.”

A cross-party taskforce of 24 Mayors and local leaders, representing 24 million people across England, have submitted a proposal to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to unlock £100bn as part of its Spending Review. The finance should be predominantly met from the private sector with the Treasury pump-priming £5bn via a Net Zero Development Bank.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, added: “From Essex to Edinburgh, the move to a greener economy will create thousands of new jobs. By unlocking private sector investment through a Net Zero Development Bank, we can reduce the taxpayer burden and ensure the money is spent prudently by disciplined allocators of capital.”

The UK Green Building Council has estimated that to achieve Net Zero carbon by 2050, almost all of the UK’s 29 million homes will need improvements, meaning more than 1.8 homes every minute require retrofits between now and 2050.

The required job roles include: surveyors and advisers, builders and insulation specialists, heating specialists, roofers, carpenters, electricians and coordinators.

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