Councils to pilot climate change programmes with £19m government funding

Renewable energy measures will be exempt

A new £19m pilot program, the Local Net Zero Accelerator, aims to support selected councils in attracting private investment and advancing efforts to address climate change.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the West Midlands Combined Authority are the focus of two pilots, receiving more than £12m to drive investment in various green projects across energy, housing, and transport. This includes initiatives like home retrofitting, solar panel installation, and green transport projects.

The funding is designed to help councils overcome barriers to private sector investment, enabling them to implement sustainable, long-term green initiatives.

Additionally, a separate £2m pilot in the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority will replicate a successful model in Bristol, aiming to create a public-private partnership to boost investment in energy systems and create jobs.

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.”