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Elmhurst Responds to Net Zero Review


On Friday, 13th January 2023, Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP published Mission Zero: Independent Review of Net Zero. Commissioned by former Prime Minister Liz Truss in September last year, this review was launched with the key aim of assessing the UK’s net zero policies and identifying which pathway to meet the climate target would bear the greatest economic benefits.

The review was informed through an official Call for Evidence, which received over 1,800 written responses, as well as through engagement with businesses, organisations, local government, academia, and the public across the UK. This engagement exercise aimed to gather evidence and data for the review, as well as ensure that the findings best represented the nation’s views and opinions.

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Key Findings:

The review describes net zero as the “economic opportunity of the 21st century”, which should be actively pursued in order to increase the prosperity of the nation. Although commending the Government on recent efforts, the review argues that further action must be taken to ensure that the UK achieves net zero in the best way possible for the economy and public.

The report details 129 recommendations in total that seek to develop, rather than overhaul, the Government’s existing policies. The key proposals surrounding the energy assessment industry include the following:

Delivering Cleaner, Cheaper and Greener Homes:

  • Bring forward work to mandate the Future Homes Standard by 2025, and for all homes to be EPC C by 2033. A Net Zero Homes Standard should be considered for the future, as homes that are now as efficient as possible will be more financially desirable to live in, buy, and sell.
  • Adopt a 10-year mission to make heat pumps a widespread technology in the UK and regulate now for the end of new and replacement gas boilers by 2033 at the latest. This will ensure to turbocharge the adoption of heat pumps and low-carbon heating sources and end the reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Provide clarity for consumers by reforming EPC ratings to create a clearer, more accessible Net Zero Performance Certificate (NZPC) for households.
  • Legislate for all homes sold by 2033 to have an EPC rating of C or above.
  • Mandate landlords to include ‘average bill cost’ alongside an EPC (and possible NZPC) rating when letting out a property. This will help renters understand what costs to expect, while also helping to put a premium on energy-efficient homes.
  • Include an Energy Efficiency Taskforce workstream on green finance products to report by end of 2023. This will support those in low EPC-rated properties to carry out green home upgrades and identify opportunities to crowd in private finance, alongside public funding.

Net Zero Performance Certificate (NZPC)

  • Utilise the EPC system better to support people in retrofitting their homes. Currently, the EPC measure does not work for net zero.
  • Go further and faster to decarbonise homes beyond EPC C and maximise the opportunities that energy efficiency and low carbon heating offer by looking ahead to a new NZPC.
  • Mandate that EPCs are updated on a regular basis, using a new metric that better reflects the current relative costs of heat pumps and the wider benefits of low-carbon heating systems. This will provide consumers with more detailed information about the heating technology used in the property and its associated financial and social effects.

Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency:

  • Legislate by 2025 the minimum energy efficiency rating to EPC B for all non-domestic buildings, both rented and owned, by 2030.
  • Legislate for EPC B rating for all new non-domestic buildings from 2025.

Elmhurst’s Response:

Elmhurst welcomes the publication of this independent net zero review. The report offers an in-depth, inclusive, and insightful analysis of the UK’s net zero transition and the current policies in place.

The review provides a clear call to action for the Government, with coherent recommendations and conclusions based on strong evidence and analysis. It highlights just how much the UK has to gain from investing in the transition to net zero and how much is at risk if the opportunity is not taken.

Elmhurst, in particular, welcomes the emphasis placed on energy efficiency. The review recommends several measures focussing on both the domestic and non-domestic sectors, with clear and realistic timescales provided.

Attention now turns to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Government to respond to the review and turn the recommendations into action. With the Government due to publish an updated net zero policy by March this year, we hope that the government will act now to meet the UK’s net zero commitments.