This Citizens’ Panel on retrofitting the houses of homeowners saw 25 people from across the Birmingham area deliberate on how to reduce emissions within private homes, working with Lancaster University and the government’s climate advisory body; the Climate Change Committee.
The Panel have spoken and their results and recommendations are in!
Earlier this year we facilitated a Citizens’ Panel on behalf of Lancaster University and the Climate Change Committee (CCC) about how private homeowners could reduce their home energy use in line with the UK’s net zero targets by 2030-2050.
The CCC are the government’s advisory committee on climate change.
Holding panels like this is vitally important to ensure the views and opinions of people from a diverse range of backgrounds, and with varying levels of understanding around climate change, are given the opportunity to have their say. This sort of ‘deliberative process’ also ensures the CCC can provide the government with evidence-based advice direct from the people who any future policy will most affect.
The starting point for the panel’s discussion was:
‘What needs to happen to bring home energy use in line with the need to tackle climate change?’
The sessions took place between April and June 2022, with five online evening sessions (26 April, 3 May, 17 May, 24 May and 7 June) and two full-day in-person sessions (Saturday, 7 May; and Saturday, 21 May).
Why this project matters
20% of the UK’s current greenhouse gas emissions come from within UK homes.
65% of housing stock in the UK is owner-occupied – which essentially means private residents who own their own home outright (about half of all homeowners) or have a mortgage of some kind. (Information from English Housing survey 2020 on home ownership).
The panel’s work was an opportunity to identify how to best fill the policy gap of support for owner-occupiers.
Given how varied the standard and condition of housing across the UK it’s clear there isn’t “one single silver bullet” that can address what the next steps need to be for individuals looking to improve their homes.
“This work has generated valuable evidence of the types of policies which homeowners wish to see… it also demonstrates the value of deliberative processes’ – which involve facilitating a dialogue between citizens and policy experts – in developing solutions to difficult and complex policy problems.”
Letter from Lord Deben, Chair, Climate Change Committee to Graham Stuart MP, Minister of State, Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. 21st Sept 2022
What were the results?
Although UK residents, the types of homes they live in and their levels of awareness of climate change vary hugely, the panel in Birmingham did reach a consensus for their recommendations.
There were 4 key areas identified as imperative to shaping a Government policy that can help homeowners take action to reach our targets:
- People accept they need to change their homes and are willing to act
- People need the government to set out a clear, long-term policy programme
- People need clear, reliable and detailed communications to inform them
- People will need a range of supportive solutions to help them decarbonise their homes by 2030 and through to 2050, ranging from improved public awareness of the issue, trusted advice and regulations to compel action.
Want to find out more?
You can read the report here – along with some handy and easy-to-read infographics that depict the recommendations: