Stroud District Council: Local Retrofit Leadership
Stroud District Council was the first local authority in Europe to become carbon neutral. As part of its commitment to making Stroud a carbon neutral district by 2030, the council is working with strategic partners from across Gloucestershire to lead retrofit action for the county. The Gloucestershire Climate Leadership Group includes all local authorities, the local enterprise partnership (LEP), the local nature partnership and the NHS.
This has built on the council’s extensive experience working with the third sector to deliver award winning affordable warmth projects. Each of these projects are led by different service areas and works to convene a new set of countywide partners. Newer projects have opened-up evolving partnerships working to deliver public and social housing decarbonisation within the district.
In order to meet the strategic challenges posed by the retrofit agenda, the council has brought together officers working across service areas to deliver effective practical support for retrofit. This allows the sharing of expertise to tackle strategic issues like the supply chain, skills deficiencies, energy infrastructure and stimulating a local retrofit economy.
The partnerships developed as part of this have county-wide support and officers in each workstream are working to secure national level buy-in to the project. These different projects are targeted to attract different beneficiaries:
- The Warm and Well project supports vulnerable consumers
- Social Housing Decarbonisation Funds Wave 1 & Pilot improves tenant homes
- Innovate to Renovate is building retrofit advisory services to support private households
- One Public Estate (zero carbon project) is a viability project for rationalising and improving the efficiency of the public estate with stakeholders including Stroud Town Council, Gloucestershire County Council and fire and rescue services.
This has provided real benefits to strategic partners through knowledge, which has in turn allowed these partners to redirect their own resources and action. For example, the LEP – leading on economy and skills – has said that this has allowed them to identify a focal point for efforts and developing a deeper understanding of the issues.
The council has also worked in close partnership with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to secure £450,000 from pooled business rates funding, to set up the Berkeley Low Carbon Training Centre. This will be established in 2023 to train 750 installers and 200 design professionals in essential retrofit and related low carbon skills.
This has also provided parity datasets for Innovate to Renovate partners for insights to the housing stock. A website, knowledge hub and branding is also in development for the private sector.
Ongoing achievements in securing and delivering grants and support to affordable warmth customers and developing new projects such as the Low Carbon Communities (private households) work to be delivered under UKSPF.