BROCKMOOR has been chosen to participate in a landmark scheme to combat climate change and slash household energy use.

The Net Zero Neighbourhoods demonstrator programme aims to help tackle fuel poverty and support the West Midlands’ ambition to be a net zero region by 2041.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) plans to invest £1.65m capital into Phase 1 of the scheme, which will see low energy retrofits take place in at least 50 homes in Brockmoor, and wider neighbourhood improvements made such as the creation of new green spaces and transport links.

Eventually up to 300 homes in the area, a mix of both privately-owned and social housing properties, will benefit from the scheme which will see houses undergo a deep retrofit using insulation with options for solar panels and low carbon heating systems.

Other measures introduced on a neighbourhood-wide scale could include LED street lighting, new pocket parks, playgrounds, communal food growing initiatives, green roofs and sustainable drainage systems.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Our region is leading the way when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and the launch of this pioneering Net Zero Neighbourhoods approach is just the latest example of this. We’re delighted to be working with Dudley Council as our first local authority partner and look forward to seeing their plans come to life.

“Retrofit is just part of the cost-saving and environmental equation and the magic of the NZN approach is that we can look at issues from a broader, holistic and neighbourhood-wide scale – cleaning, greening and regenerating our communities in a much more systematic fashion with projects like green roofs, solar panels, sustainable drainage systems, low carbon heating systems, LED street lighting, new pocket parks and communal food growing initiatives.

“This is tremendously exciting news and will help us shape the neighbourhoods of the future fostering wellbeing and improving quality of life for local residents for months and years to come.”

The Net Zero Neighbourhood demonstrator follows studies which found that to date, deep retrofit initiatives have not generated change at a scale or pace necessary to achieve the region’s net zero goals. Most initiatives have only encouraged individual households to take up deep retrofit measures and cleaner heating technologies, not whole streets.

Councillor Rob Clinton, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for waste management and climate change, said: “This innovative scheme will help to forge new initiatives in tackling climate change, reducing fuel poverty and providing residents with an attractive, sustainable place to live, work and socialise.”

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to make big changes in Brockmoor to benefit our residents and the wider community. I am delighted we are the first area in the region to be granted funding under this scheme.

“This project is about thinking outside the box and looking at how we can collectively reduce our carbon emissions across a wider area and save money for our residents.

“We all know the seriousness of the climate crisis and the need to make changes to the way we live.

“This is about making changes on a community-wide scale to have a greater impact.

“We’re really excited to get this pilot project off the ground and we hope if it proves successful, we’ll be able to roll it out to other areas.”

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, cabinet member for housing and communities, said Brockmoor has been selected as it has strong community engagement, some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the area and homes that could be improved with relative ease.

She added: “There are also businesses we could potentially work with to create energy saving schemes on a larger scale.

“For it to succeed, we are reliant on the co-operation of residents and we will be liaising with those who are invited to take part in the scheme in the coming weeks.”