BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution

18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”