Posted: Fri 22nd Mar 2024

Welsh Government Accused of Unfairness Towards Councils on Energy Efficiency /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 22nd, 2024

A councillor has accused the Welsh Government of not being fair with councils when it comes to energy efficiency requirements.
Cllr Peter Littlechild made his comments at a Cardiff Council community and adult services scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, March 18.
Members were discussing the new Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) and energy efficiency targets that have been set for the council’s housing stock.
Cllr Littlechild said the council is “not really on a level playing field” with private developers when it comes to meeting energy efficiency standards.
The Welsh Government said that the knowledge gained from upgrading council homes as part of their WHQS will help them tackle decarbonising privately owned homes.
Cllr Littlechild said: “Welsh Government aren’t being fair to councils or council housing stock and it seems that private developments are just allowed to get away with not as green [of an] agenda as they are putting on us”.
Homes owned by housing associations and local authorities in Wales have to meet a range of new requirements set out in WHQS 2023.
Homes that meet WHQS 2023 must have/be: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Affordable to heat and have minimal environmental impact
Fitted with an up-to-date kitchen and utility area
Fitted with an up-to-date bathroom
Safe and secure
In a good state of repair
Comfortable and promotes wellbeing
A suitable garden
An attractive outdoor space ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cardiff Council’s own cabinet member for housing and communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said at a previous meeting that meeting the new standards will be “incredibly challenging” for the council.
Apart from some requirements, like providing suitable flooring and water-saving devices, the council doesn’t currently have a full allocated amount in it’s housing budget for meeting WHQS 2023 because it doesn’t know yet how much it will cost.
At Monday’s scrutiny committee meeting, the council’s director for adults, housing and communities, Jane Thomas, said it is “going to take quite a lot of work” for the local authority to figure that out.
Cllr Thorne agreed with Cllr Littlechild’s comments and added: “Previously, we knew that there were more private landlords renting to people in need across the city than all of the social housing together.
“If this is about addressing the green agenda then actually, that needs to be looking at… even more than council stock.”
Council homes in Cardiff will be required to have a minimum of category C energy performance certificates by 2027.
As it stands, 79% of council homes currently meet this rating.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government sets the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for privately rented properties and we are disappointed with the lack of progress in this area.
“In Wales, we are consulting on a heat strategy which sets out our approach and action required to ensure clean and affordable heat is available to all.
“We are also putting in place a framework for heat decarbonisation together with specific actions to support homeowners, including those in the private rented sector.
“The Welsh Housing Quality Standard sets out bold and progressive standards for social landlords and what we learn from upgrading social homes will help us tackle decarbonising privately owned homes in Wales.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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