Leeds hailed by MP Darren Jones for its leadership in creating energy-efficient homes to help reach net zero target

The UK must decarbonise the heating in homes and make buildings more energy-efficient if it is to reach its statutory net zero carbon target by 2050, according to a senior MP.

Darren Jones, who chairs the Commons Business Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, says heat networks, which use a shared source of heating and pipe the heat to multiple buildings instead of using a gas boiler in each home, are one option to heat homes.

Leeds City Council’s PIPE heat network scheme is one of several national pilots and CITU, a developer in the city, makes homes that build in energy efficiency systems which reduce the amount of heat needed.

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How this old house in Roundhay was transformed into an energy efficient eco home
Leeds city centre with Leeds Minster and River Aire. Credit: Vantage - stock.adobe.com

The BEIS Select Committee is undertaking an inquiry on the decarbonisation of heat in residential homes and has called on the Government to announce the replacement to its failed energy efficiency scheme, the Green Homes Grant.

And ahead of a visit to Leeds to talk to people involved in the local scheme, Labour MP Mr Jones said: "The Government has to urgently explain how it will help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes and replace their gas boilers, especially for families on lower incomes."

"It’s right that Ministers have set a national net zero target but this must now be translated into real action and support for people who will want to do the right thing.

"It’s been great to visit innovative projects such as the PIPE district heat network and CITU’s sustainable housing developments in Leeds and I commend Council Leader Councillor James Lewis for his leadership on this important work in Leeds.”

Coun Lewis said: “Leeds has a bold ambition to achieve net zero as quickly as possible and make our city a greener, healthier and fairer in the process.

"Around half of the city’s emissions come from heating and powering our buildings and too many people still face fuel poverty as a result of living in historically cold and inefficient homes.

“It has been fantastic to highlight some of Leeds’ innovative projects that are already helping to decarbonise both new and existing buildings.

"However councils, property owners and industry all need greater clarity and long-term support from Government to scale up innovation like this so that more people benefit. We eagerly await the Heat and Buildings Strategy, which we hope will provide the clarity needed.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “The UK has a strong track record in improving the energy performance of its homes, with 40 per cent now rated Band C - up from just nine per cent in 2008.

"We are committed to going further and faster, and we continue to consider a range of ways we can drive forward decarbonisation, investing £9 billion in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings.

“We have also recently announced £300 million extra funding to support the local delivery of green home upgrades for social and low-income homes, bringing total spending on energy efficiency measures to £1.3 billion in the upcoming financial year.”