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Councils Pilot Net Zero Projects with £19 Million Government Backing

Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots will help combined authorities deliver green initiatives such as retrofitting homes and installing solar panels.

A new £19 million pilot programme will help selected combined authorities unlock private investment, speed up their efforts to tackle climate change and help the UK reach its net zero target.

Greater Manchester and the West Midlands have been selected to receive over £12 million to leverage private sector investment and meet climate goals.

Two Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the West Midlands Combined Authority will help drive investment in multiple green projects across key sectors such as energy, housing and transport – essential to delivering on the UK’s climate targets.

The combined authorities will decide how to allocate funding, selecting projects that will benefit their communities. These could include housing retrofit and renewable energy and transport projects, such as installing solar panels, battery storage and deploying green buses – all of which could help significantly cut emissions.

Councils have previously faced barriers to attracting private sector investment in smaller net zero programmes and one-off projects. But today’s funding is designed to tackle this so they can secure investment at scale to deliver a range of green initiatives and expand decarbonisation work in the years to come.

By combining multiple green projects across different sectors, rather than requesting funding for one-off, short-term projects, the new Local Net Zero Accelerator Programme will make it easier to secure private investment in a long-term, sustainable way.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, said:

The UK is a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change. But the work we do locally is just as important for cutting emissions and delivering net zero.

These pilots will help combined authorities to unlock private sector investment that they can spend on green projects they see fit locally, whether that be retrofitting housing or investing in green public transport networks – all while supporting skilled jobs, building out supply chains and growing our economy.

Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, said:

The government’s decision to ask our region to help lead the drive to net zero represents a real vote of confidence in what we can do and indeed are already doing here in the West Midlands.

Whether it’s the strides we’re making to retrofit homes – making them warmer and more energy efficient – or cutting energy bills for local businesses or indeed ensuring our transport network is more sustainable, we’re taking the practical steps on the ground to advance the net zero cause.

Together, we can help draw in the required public and private finance that will accelerate the rollout and take up of net zero related projects right across the UK as a whole.

The new schemes will be supported by a centralised finance service. Supported by around £3 million, this will give the pilots access to financial and commercial knowledge to attract private investment in the local programmes.

The lessons learnt from these pilots will be used to support other combined authorities across England deliver on net zero targets.

cop Net Zero Accelerator

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