New chair of Essex Climate Action Commission signals action to reduce emissions in county

Thu, 25/11/2021 - 11:51

Professor Jules Pretty of the University of Essex is announced as new Chair of the Essex Climate Action Commission, the independent, voluntary body set up as part of Essex County Council’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and become a net zero emissions county.

The announcement coincides with a further round of funding under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme.  Essex residents with combined household incomes of below £30,000 can access a grant of up to £10,000 to upgrade the heating and insulation in their homes. This grant means residents can cut their fuel bills and their carbon emissions at the same time, while keeping their home warm and comfortable.

Professor Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, succeeds Lord Randall who has chaired the commission since it was first set up by Essex County Council in May 2020 to advise on how best to take meaningful action in tackling climate change.

The Commission provides expert advice and up-to-date recommendations to move Essex to net zero by 2050. Over 30 commissioners represent a wide cross-section of people and organisations from private, public and voluntary sectors. Its 2021 report ‘Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral’ sets out a plan for climate action across the county.

Speaking of his appointment as the Chair of Essex Climate Action Commission, Professor Jules Pretty said: “We have achieved a great deal in the first year, with the Net Zero report and its recommendations, but we have much still to do.  I am focused on helping our Net Zero report come to life and demonstrating how our recommendations can be implemented by the people and institutions of Essex.  The new funding for the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme is a good step in the right direction, helping people cut emissions from their homes and save money at the same time.

“COP26 in Glasgow has focused people’s attentions locally and internationally on the pressing and interconnected priorities arising from the climate crisis. In Essex, the Essex Climate Action Commission has been both ambitious and realistic, and is leading the way in showing how commitments to reducing carbon-equivalent emissions by a half in each of the next ten-year periods will contribute to averting the climate crisis.”

Cllr Peter Schwier, Essex County Council’s Climate Czar, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Pretty as the new chair of the Commission and would like to thank the outgoing chair, Lord Randall for all his hard work in getting the Commission established and its report published. We look forward to seeing Professor Pretty take the reins and lead the Commission into its second year as it focuses on green growth and finance."

The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme offers funding for people on lower incomes and is designed to reduce people’s heating bills, increase energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions.

Homeowners with a combined household income below £30,000 and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G may be eligible for funding of up to £10,000* to install energy efficiency measures in their homes.

The new funding can go towards installing solar panels as well as renewable heating systems, insulation, heating controls, ventilation, hot water systems and lighting.

Residents who have unsuccessfully applied for government grant funding in the past may still qualify for this scheme. All homeowners are therefore urged to come forward and check the qualifying criteria.

Social and private landlords are also invited to apply for subsidised funding as part of the scheme. Private tenants are encouraged to speak to their landlord and highlight how the grant could improve the rental property’s energy efficiency, making it more attractive to rent. 

For more information complete a simple questionnaire to check eligibility for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme funding.