Dudley to develop first Net Zero Neighbourhood in the West Midlands

Brockmoor has been chosen to participate in a landmark scheme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority to combat climate change and slash household energy use.

The Net Zero Neighbourhoods demonstrator programme will not only help tackle fuel poverty but also support the West Midlands’ ambition to be a net zero region by 2041. 

The WMCA will invest £1.65m capital into Phase 1 of the scheme, which will see low energy retrofits take place in at least 50 homes in Brockmoor, as well as wider improvements to the neighbourhood such as new green spaces and transport links. 

Eventually up to 300 homes in the area, a mix of both privately owned and social housing properties, will benefit from the Net Zero Neighbourhood scheme.

Homes will undergo ‘deep retrofit’ using insulation with options for solar panels and low carbon heating systems. Other measures introduced on a neighbourhood-wide scale could include LED street lighting, new pocket parks, playgrounds, communal food growing initiatives, green roofs and sustainable drainage systems. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Our region is leading the way when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and the launch of this pioneering Net Zero Neighbourhoods approach is just the latest example of this.

“We’re delighted to be working with Dudley Council as our first local authority partner and look forward to seeing their plans come to life. 

“Retrofit is just part of the cost saving and environmental equation and the magic of the NZN approach is that we can look at issues from a broader, holistic and neighbourhood-wide scale – cleaning, greening and regenerating our communities in a much more systematic fashion with projects like green roofs, solar panels, sustainable drainage systems, low carbon heating systems, LED street lighting, new pocket parks and communal food growing initiatives.

“This is tremendously exciting news and will help us shape the neighbourhoods of the future fostering wellbeing and improving quality of life for local residents for months and years to come.”

The Net Zero Neighbourhood demonstrator follows studies which found that to date, deep retrofit initiatives have not generated change at a scale or pace necessary to achieve the region’s net zero goals. Most initiatives have only encouraged individual households to take up deep retrofit measures and cleaner heating technologies, not whole streets.

While Dudley will be the initial beneficiary of funding, the overall aim of the programme is to secure funding for a pilot in each of the seven West Midlands local authority areas and to develop a replicable finance model for greening whole neighbourhoods. 

The initial plans for the scheme were first announced during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November last year.

WMCA’s Energy Capital team will continue to work with all local authorities in the area to further develop their plans and identify possible funding and finance opportunities.


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