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Wiltshire Council To Waste £484m On Zero Carbon Plan

November 10, 2020

By Paul Homewood

h/t Patsy Lacey


A SIGNIFICANT investment of £195m in a zero-carbon council housing project has been approved.

The council house new build programme will see a £195m investment to create homes to a ‘zero-carbon standard’.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Cabinet also agreed to invest a total of £289m in making council-built properties more energy efficient – energy performance B at a minimum.

This investment will save 20,000 tons of carbon every year and the funding will run until 2032.

The council house new build programme aims to build 1,000 properties over the next 10 years and has already delivered 170 houses.

The council press release offers more detail:

Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet has today (Tuesday 3 November) agreed to significantly invest in zero carbon homes for its council house new build programme, and also improve the energy efficiency of its existing council homes.

This investment will help the council respond to the climate emergency, as part of its commitment to lead the way to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, and also ensure that council homes are cheaper to run, bringing these savings directly to residents.

The new council house build programme will see around £195m invested into building new, energy efficient council homes up to 2032. The council is initially running a pilot scheme, and if successful, all new properties that are built by the council (not including those purchased from developers) will be constructed to ‘zero carbon’ standards, which features very high levels of insulation, generation of electricity, and triple glazing, among other environmental benefits. These properties enjoy very low energy bills for residents, offset by the properties’ energy generation.

The council will also invest £289m until 2032 on improving existing council housing properties to ensure they achieve a minimum energy performance rating of B. To achieve this energy performance rating, existing council properties will receive the highest levels of loft and wall insulation, and will be fitted with A++ rated windows. Heating and hot water will be sourced from non-fossil fuels, combined with the installation of efficient unvented hot water cylinders. The council will also consider other technologies to enhance these improvements and further reduce customers’ energy bills, such as solar panels on roofs and battery storage, depending on the property.


The new house build works out at £195,000 per home, which presumably is the full cost!.The figure therefore does not tell us much, and really the council should be compelled to declare the extra cost of making them zero carbon.

However, it is the improvement of existing homes which sticks out like a sore thumb. According to the council website, the council owns over 5,000 properties. So expenditure of £289m, which works out at a mind boggling £57,800 apiece. Energy Performance Rating B is not even particularly high anyway – typically a condensing boiler, triple glazing, cavity and loft insulation gets a B rating. I suspect that most of their council houses have most of these features, except triple glazing.

Potential annual energy savings from this investment are unlikely to be more than a couple of hundred quid, so clearly the council’s plan is not a runner economically. And it is safe to presume that tenants will not have to pay the money back through their rents.

The population in the area covered by Wiltshire Council is about 500,000, so it will cost every man, woman and child £578 to fund this virtue signalling nonsense, quite apart from the new build cost.

Just one further thought. If we apply this cost of £57,800 to the nation’s housing stock of 27m, we get a total cost of £1.56 trillion!

  1. Phillip Bratby permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:22 am

    I doubt there is one single sensible local authority left in the country.

  2. cajwbroomhill permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:24 am

    Total, total waste based on group think, not scientifically based.

  3. Penda100 permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:43 am

    Being virtuous with other peoples money. If the councillors were spending their own money would it happen?

  4. geoffb permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:50 am

    Glasgow city council carried out a similar exercise, it was no cost to the tenants and was basically installation of air heat pumps the external unit was mounted on the balcony. The downside was the tenants could not afford to run them.

  5. JimW permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:56 am

    EPC and MEES have a simple 7 year pay back to test whether investments are worth it. So annual energy cost savings *7 has to be more than the cost of the improvement. I doubt whether most/any of the improvements on existing housing stock meet this criteria. So the LA is wasting its , council tax payers and central governments money. Seems ready for legal challenge I would have thought.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 10, 2020 12:16 pm

      Beat me to it, Jim.

      “This investment will save 20,000 tons of carbon every year”: Investment?? So local taxpayers can expect a dividend rather than being out of pocket? Fat chance. I remember when council flats were so draughty that residents kept the windows closed and suffered the horrors of damp and mould. Bet these don’t survive their inhabitants.

  6. ianprsy permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:23 pm

    This is the sort of thing Ed Miliband’s touring the newsrooms flogging? A mere £30Billion. Quite apart of the cost of these “green jobs” and the practicality or otherwise of doing what they say they’ll do, there’s the shock residents will get when they’re disconnected from gas and have to use electricity for everything.

  7. November 10, 2020 12:27 pm

    But…. as we are told this is all because of, runaway global warming (A) which they have affirmed by public pronouncement that a climate emergency exists today as a consequence. Why then is there any need to spend 1p on insulation (B)? If as they promote they “believe” in A why then any need to spend money on B or am I missing something?

    Also exactly HOW “green” is ripping out perfectly good windows, boilers and radiators and throwing them away?

    My final question and most pertinent of all is, were any adults in the room when this asininity was tabled and approved?

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:42 pm

    Ex-BBC Black’s ECIU suggested a £49 saving on heating in the winter months and £32 over energy savings over a year.

    Let’s be generous and call winter 6 months = a saving of £326 per year.

    £20,000 of ‘improvements’ (won’t get much these days, especially if you need to properly insulate walls – not cheapo cavity fill) crude non-indexed payback = 60+ years.

    Nothing for it, energy is obviously 10 times too cheap, and they’re addressing that!

  9. ianprsy permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:47 pm

    Maybe I’ve read fheir policy too quickly, but I can’t see any reference to them having consulted their taxpayers. This even more important because they’re going well beyond national targets?

  10. Mack permalink
    November 10, 2020 1:47 pm

    Does anyone have a list of all the sizzling cities, counties and boroughs in the U.K. who’ve declared a ‘climate emergency’? Looking for somewhere this winter to top up my tan when the ‘lockdown emergency Take 2’ is over. These places are bound to be really hot aren’t they?

    • jack broughton permalink
      November 10, 2020 1:50 pm

      Catch 22 applies, if the cities have dreadful weather, that is climate change, but if they are hotter than normal, that is global warming: QED.

  11. Rowland P permalink
    November 10, 2020 1:59 pm

    I keep being told by my Wiltshire Councillor that the Council hasn’t any money so I don’t know where this lot is coming from!

    • ianprsy permalink
      November 10, 2020 2:35 pm

      Just the person to ask – did your council actually consult on this or otherwise seek a mandate?

      • Rowland P permalink
        November 11, 2020 4:47 pm

        Of course not. First I knew of it was here. I emailed every Councillor in an attempt to persuade then not to vote for a “climate emergency” to no avail. However, I did get some positive feed back from a few.

  12. jack broughton permalink
    November 10, 2020 2:30 pm

    As per “Yes Minister”, the solution is a fully socially-benevolent carbon tax that no one can complain about. This will, of course, disproportionately hit poor-people and northerners who want to stay warm and use carbon (i.e. natural gas). This will remove the problem of poverty and the north-south divide at a stroke as they will not be able to afford ground-source heat pumps so will die-off rapidly……. unless global warming saves them! The bears and wolves can then take over the north of UK (i.e. north of the M25), as a massive nature reserve, what’s not to like?

  13. November 10, 2020 3:01 pm

    By the same definition is a stable population an indication of “zero sex”? I so detest these weasel terms which do nothing to address what Joe and Josephine Public think they mean. They are just terms creating even more space for accountants and lawyers oh and worthless public employment

  14. Mad Mike permalink
    November 10, 2020 4:23 pm

    Meanwhile in the real world, UK electricity demand is ramping up but, as it is pretty mild for this time of the year, is only around 37.7 GW. Of that renewables are only supplying 19% with wind kicking in with 12% and solar surprisingly on 0%. Good luck living in one of these dwellings when the winter temperatures (and demand) arrive on a cloudy still day. Still you will be comforted by knowing that you are part of a scheme that will save 20K tons of CO2 a year. The rest of the world will be carrying on producing the other 43 billion tons but you will have a warm feeling of having saved the planet.

  15. David permalink
    November 10, 2020 6:32 pm

    I think this nonsense is a result of an increasingly vanishing number of people with any understanding of maths. Those that half understand probably think there really is a money tree and they will never have to pay. Maybe this is true with negative interest rates and big money apparently aiming to ruin the world.

  16. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    November 10, 2020 7:34 pm

    ” . . . respond to the climate emergency

    There is not a climate emergency.
    Those that think there is an emergency have the brain of a slug.

    A few folks on the Wiltshire Council likely have ties to companies supplying insulation and “A+++ rated” windows. [I might, also, if those are publicly traded companies.]
    Why not reinstate the Window Tax? Problem solved.
    Follow the money.

    Mother Gaia won’t notice.

  17. CheshireRed permalink
    November 10, 2020 8:46 pm

    I’m beginning to think we need a military coup.

  18. Barrie Emmett permalink
    November 10, 2020 9:55 pm

    Where do they find these people?

    Sent from my iPad


  19. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 11, 2020 9:15 am

    Has anyone explained to these idiots that it’s not carbon it’s carbon dioxide and that the objective is to reduce global temperature by 0.017 degrees in 2100.? Or is it 0.17?. To which UK’s contribution, given observational noise, is zero.

  20. Steve permalink
    November 11, 2020 10:30 am

    They will be lucky to keep the cost of the insulation of walls175mmm thick, extending roof if external, floors including taking up existing, windows, doors, air heat exchangers, heat pumps, plus new space and water heating, rewiring sockets, altering kitchen fittings and wardrobes, and platforms in the roof space to fit thicker quilt. And how do they propose to insulate roof rooms with 4 inches of insulation that will need another five inches and lose headroom?

    • Steve permalink
      November 11, 2020 10:31 am

      Cost to 57,500.

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