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Taskforce Launched in West Midlands

A new taskforce that will feature some of the UK’s top property experts has been launched to help the West Midlands accelerate the construction of low carbon, energy-efficient homes.

The Zero Carbon Homes Taskforce has been set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to support the region’s fight against climate change by making sure all new homes meet tough zero carbon standards from 2025 onwards.

The taskforce, which is chaired by the UK Green Building Council will provide local and expert insight into how the region plans for a net zero future as it works toward achieving its ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2041. This move towards zero carbon homes will play a key role in the region’s wider plans for a successful economic recovery from COVID-19, one which makes the West Midlands a greener and healthier place to work and live.

The WM2041: A Programme for Implementing an Environmental Recovery sets out a range of initiatives from small-scale through to potentially region-wide and complex schemes, including retrofitting old and cold homes to make them more energy efficient and accelerating the transition of the region’s automotive industry to electric vehicles.

The taskforce will regularly meet over the coming months to co-develop a charter and roadmap to help guide the move toward zero carbon homes in the region and build consensus across major public and private sector organisations.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Housebuilding has been one of the West Midlands’ best success stories in recent years, with record numbers of homes being built and the vast majority of them on brownfield land.

“Now, not only must we look to continue that success in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but we must also think more about how housebuilding can help tackle the climate emergency we are facing and help the region reach its net-zero goal of 2041.

“This new taskforce will help do exactly that, building on work which is already underway to understand our existing performance and what more needs to be done.”

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, will chair the taskforce which includes representatives across the construction, finance, academia, innovation and energy sectors.

“We have secured a multi-disciplinary and highly experienced group of representatives from business, local government and academia, all of whom I am confident will play a critical role in ensuring that the WMCA adopts an ambitious and impactful approach to delivering zero carbon homes closely aligned with UKGBC’s own framework definition for net zero carbon buildings,” she said.

“The taskforce will inform the development of a charter and a roadmap for zero carbon homes that the WMCA has a direct stake in, but importantly it should also set an example for other local authorities in the region to follow. This is a unique opportunity to bring the public and private sectors together to build back better by delivering homes fit for the future.”

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