Wiltshire draft climate strategy 2022-2027. August 2021

Homes and the built environment

Ensuring new development is built to net zero carbon standards as soon as possible is a key theme from all engagement to date. The current review of the Wiltshire Local Plan is looking at this within the constraints of the national planning system and housing market.

However, it is not just new buildings that need to be net zero because they make up a very small proportion of all buildings in Wiltshire. We also need to retrofit existing buildings so that they are energy efficient and use low carbon sources of energy. Research for the strategy (including by the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group) shows that there are different types of retrofit technologies: well-established such as insulation; technologies that are becoming more widely used such as air source heat pumps; emerging but tested new technologies such as Energiesprong; and potential emerging options such as hydrogen boilers (that are unlikely to be deployable at scale before 2030). The key is that we don't wait for new technologies but move forward with what we can now, learning from others including the council's own work programmes.

Objectives

  • New buildings, including homes, to be net zero carbon and adaptable to climate change as soon as possible (including measures such as water efficiency)
  • Existing buildings in all sectors to be retrofitted to improve energy efficiency and decrease energy demand through low carbon technology
  • New and existing buildings to be adapted to climate change for both heating and cooling, and to include measures of benefit to the wider environment where possible (see diagram on page 17 for some of the potential measures)
  • The objectives for the built environment are concise, but reaching them - in particular the retrofit of existing homes and buildings - is a significant challenge.
  • In relation to the existing Wiltshire housing stock, over 450 homes would need to be retrofitted every week for the next 9 years to get to net zero by 2030. This shows the importance of applying for retrofit funding and engaging with residents as an immediate area of focus; and partnership working in all sectors to allow us to build the supply chains and resident confidence to enable high levels of retrofit in later years.
  •  The non-residential sector can raise specific challenges, e.g. liability and ownership issues at schools, or the many typologies of buildings with different challenges in the industrial and commercial sectors. Access to funding, whether this is in the form of grants or the ability to borrow, will also be key.

Our areas of focus

Wiltshire Council will:

  • Implement a ten year programme to retrofit all council homes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) B standard
  • Aspire for net zero carbon development by the council where viable and possible

Use the Local Plan review as an opportunity for zero carbon standards in new builds; stronger policy on adaptation and mitigation; and improved policies on other aspects such as water use and well-considered site layouts.

Using our influence and partnerships we will:

  • Help residents to understand and engage in retrofitting their homes by active promotion
  • Help fuel-poor households improve the efficiency of their homes by targeted support
  • Disseminate learning from our own programmes to partners locally and nationally, including social housing providers
  • Work in partnership to raise standards in the wider built environment such as business and schools

Warm and Safe Wiltshire

A fair and just transition is a key principle of the strategy. Warm and Safe Wiltshire provides home energy efficiency advice and grants to full-poor households.

Historic Environment

Recent research by Historic England (2019) and others shows how historic buildings can be retrofitted to help meet climate aims           

One thing you can do: reduce your carbon footprint by turning down your thermostat