Leeds City Council has partnered with leading companies in the UK to address the obstacles preventing households from accessing energy-saving green home upgrades. Through its involvement in the Local Low Carbon Accelerator (LLCA) initiative, the council aims to foster collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to expedite the adoption of insulation and other technologies that render homes healthier, more environmentally friendly, and more cost-effective.

The LLCA, which was established by four members of the Prime Minister’s Business Council—Lloyds Banking Group, Octopus Energy, National Grid, and Shell—seeks to facilitate the sharing of recommendations and expertise among local authorities nationwide. Leeds City Council has developed and distributed suggestions to help other authorities overcome demand-side barriers and secure funding for retrofitting residential properties.

Even after the conclusion of the LLCA, the council intends to continue working with partner organisations, including Lloyds Banking Group, to establish a comprehensive resource for green home improvements, commonly referred to as a ‘one-stop shop.’

On Friday, a roundtable discussion was hosted by Tom Riordan CBE, the CEO of Leeds City Council, and chaired by John Flint, CEO of the Leeds-based UK Infrastructure Bank. The meeting, held at the Civic Hall, brought together senior executives from major finance, housing, and energy companies, as well as leaders from government departments and other local authorities, to deliberate on the next steps in this collaborative effort.

Furthermore, the partnership shared insights and lessons learned during an online event attended by numerous representatives from the public and private sectors.

Leeds City Council’s participation in the LLCA aligns with its Net Zero Homes Plan, unveiled earlier this year, which outlines strategies for partnering with stakeholders to install low-carbon heating systems and combat heat loss from residential buildings within the city.

Enhancing insulation in Leeds’ structures to minimise heat loss yields several advantages, including reducing the city’s carbon footprint and addressing fuel poverty. In 2020, one in six households in Leeds fell under the fuel poverty classification, but recent research suggests this number has likely increased significantly.

Since the announcement of the Net Zero Homes Plan in March, the council has secured nearly £200,000 from the government’s Green Home Finance Accelerator fund. This funding is intended to develop a “property-linked” finance product in collaboration with Arup and Lloyds Banking Group. The product will complement the council’s plans to launch a one-stop-shop service that provides local homeowners and landlords with trustworthy and tailored advice regarding the benefits of various green upgrades.

Meanwhile, efforts to construct energy-efficient social housing and retrofit existing council homes have continued, and cutting-edge space technology has recently been trialled in Leeds. This technology aims to identify homes that are experiencing the most significant heat loss.

Tom Riordan CBE, Chief Executive Officer at Leeds City Council, expressed his thoughts on the matter, stating, “Retrofitting homes is a huge opportunity to address the city’s three priorities: improved health, zero carbon, and inclusive economic growth. It is vital that we work in partnership with others on a cross-sector basis to make the fastest progress on net zero and realise the many benefits of retrofit as fully as possible. Leeds City Council is proud to be part of the national Local Low Carbon Accelerator initiative, and we hope this collaborative work will have a positive impact in Leeds and extend far beyond our city borders.”

John Flint, CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank based in Leeds, emphasised the significance of public-private sector collaboration in overcoming obstacles to decarbonising local infrastructure. Flint remarked, “The Bank supports local authorities by providing advice to help get infrastructure projects off the ground, and finances projects which support the UK’s transition to net zero, create jobs, and generate growth. It is vital that the public and private sectors work together to overcome the barriers to decarbonising local infrastructure, and it is really positive to see that in action at the Local Low Carbon Accelerator in Leeds.”