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Historic England is calling for more action to be taken to address skills shortages in retrofitting buildings to ensure older properties can be made more energy efficient, following the publication of new data on the scale of work needed to ensure pre-1919 buildings meet net zero standards.
Data made available by Historic England alongside property and heritage sector partners has estimated the need for skills to deliver Net Zero for historic buildings, as well as how local areas across the country could benefit economically from activities to make older buildings more environmentally sustainable.
Historic England is encouraging the 38 Employer Representative Bodies responsible for implementing Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) across England to develop proposals to train new and existing workers. The organisation has developed an online interactive map for local authorities to explore the types of workers needed and potential economic output of the work needed to retrofit historic buildings locally. Training schemes being encouraged by Historic England include skills bootcamps and apprenticeships that are tailored to local needs.
Estimates for Greater Manchester suggest the city-region needs an additional 5,000 workers trained in retrofitting to ensure local buildings constructed before 1919 can achieve net zero emissions, with the total work needing to be carried out expected to generate £570 million for the local economy, with 490 needed in Stockport alone
With buildings in England responsible for around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, on a national level 86,500 new workers in the sector will be needed annually to meet the country’s 2050 net zero target.
Historic England’s Director of Policy and Evidence, Ian Morrison, said:
“We’re delighted to be sharing the first blueprint for delivering long term, high quality retrofitting jobs across our towns and cities, delivering energy efficiency for our much-loved historic buildings and seizing a massive opportunity to drive sustainable growth. Prioritising the re-use and retrofit of historic buildings helps to conserve those places that give us a sense of local identity and make us proud – this is also essential for getting to Net Zero by 2050. We urge decision-makers across the country to work with us and act now with this data to build England’s retrofit workforce.”
Joe Crolla, Principal Skills Manager at Greater Manchester Combined Authority said:
“GMCA welcomes the work of Historic England relating to the workforce needed for the decarbonisation of buildings across the country. Skills development is acknowledged as one of the key areas of future work in the GMCA Retrofit Action Plan, so refining the evidence base about what professions and skillsets are needed across Greater Manchester is critical. It’s important to recognise older buildings in the ambition – with that brings different skills requirements which we want to develop across our wider construction workforce.”