Tory-run Harlow Council reject Labour bid on insulating homes
Politics / Sun 31st Oct 2021 at 01:17pm
TORY-run Harlow Council has rejected plans to insulate or retrofit thousands of homes, despite targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Opposition councillors in Harlow called for a new statement to be added to the town plan, which would have planned for all currently existing homes in the town, some of which are nearly 100 years old, to be updated to modern energy efficiency standards by 2047 reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
But the proposals were voted down at a full council meeting last night (October 28), with the Conservative administration arguing it is making sufficient progress on reducing emissions via it’s Electric Vehicle charging point, tree planting and biodiversity projects.
Speaking at the meeting, Portfolio Holder for Housing Simon Carter (Con, Church Langley) said there was already a £2million budget for improving energy efficiency and that a 30 year housing business plan would be coming to full council in January.
He said: “We hit the ground running after our first council meeting, setting a 2040 net zero target, ten years ahead of the government’s target.”
Later he said: “Part of the £2m in this year’s energy efficiency budget is focused on the 183 properties which are currently in band E EPC ratings, requiring insulation and energy efficiency works.”
Labour councillors said the previous administration, collaborating with with real estate service provider Savills, commissioned a review of the council’s housing stock in 2015, which identified 8,000 out of 9,800 council-owned homes would need to be improved, at a cost of roughly £110 million.
Deputy Labour leader Councillor Tony Edwards (Toddbrook), who proposed the motion, told the meeting: “We as a council have to be starting to look at that and have to be starting now to start to address those issues and making an aspiration that that’s what we’re going to do as far as housing is concerned.
“Otherwise come 2047, I won’t be around and very few of the people here will be around, but our kids and our grandchildren certainly aren’t going to thank us.”
According to council documents, a large proportion of Harlow’s housing stock will be between 70 and 100 years old by 2047.
The motion called on the council to quantify the numbers of houses that would need to be brought up modern standards, create an action plan for council-owned properties and take a strategic lead for privately owned housing stock.
This would have formed part of the council’s town plan, an early draft of which was endorsed by the cabinet in September.
This comes as groups like the controversial Insulate Britain have made headlines by blocking major roads in the south east of England, in an effort to provoke nation-wide measures to fund the insulation of homes in Britain by 2030.
In February, the Climate Change Commission told the government home insulation was needed for it to meet its national climate targets, according to reporting by the BBC.
Harlow Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019.
An updated draft of the Harlow town plan is expected to come before the cabinet early next year.
Poorly insulated homes don't just cause carbon emissions, they cost a fortune to heat. I would guess that council tenants are often among the lower income groups who may struggle most with the extra £40/50 per month that bills will increase this winter. £13000 per home also seems an awful lot of money
the previous labour run council did nothin for our council property in the time they were in power, always an excuse to why they couldnt do this or that, lets hope the tories run it better
Mike, if you are in a council house and vote Tory. That's a turkey voting for Christmas mate. Good luck...
Here we go again Politics inside council meetings! Do they not realise that they are there for the great and good of the Harlow residents yet time and time again politics rears its head. They speak about offsetting their carbon footprint yet lets look at the very old diesel buses trundling around Harlow roads and running down streets not wide enough for them and where children walk to school inhaling all the lovely thick black smoke from the rear of the buses! Then lets place some speed ramps on the roads so the buses and cars slow down then accelerate blowing more smoke out! I say lets get them all out of office and put local people in that care about the real local issues then we may get a town to be proud of!