The Welsh Government has ensured that 20,000 low carbon social homes for rent will be a key pillar of the Net Zero Wales plan.

The plan contains more than 120 government policies and proposals, covering every area from peatland restoration to active travel, and from green skills to renewable energy.

In the plan, the Welsh Government says it will work with the social housing sector to “lead the way and set the highest standards” on net zero.

It also set out some expectations for the years ahead:

  • By 2025 around 148,000 houses across Wales to have received retrofit measures
  • By 2025 move from fossil fuels through increasing the proportion of heat that is electrified by 3%
  • By 2025 all new affordable homes in Wales will be built to net zero carbon, and net zero standards are adopted by developers of all new homes regardless of tenure by this date.

The Welsh Government also had some asks for the UK Government:

  • Take into account Wales’ unique needs and specific context when setting policy, which applies across the whole of UK, and work with the Welsh Government to help support analysis on the impact of UK Government decarbonisation policy on Wales.
  • Fully engage with Welsh Government on the next steps for the Heat and Buildings Strategy.
  • UK Government to take the lead in shaping policy to overcome the barriers to decarbonisation of homes including the cost of technology, consumer awareness/behaviour change.
  • Take action to address the market distortion resulting from an unequal application of carbon price and other green levers applied to electricity.
  • Establish a supportive regulatory and fiscal environment – levers include MEESs and mandatory disclosure requirements for lenders on energy performance of homes.
  • Ensure ECO works with our investment programmes.

The plan was welcomed by Welsh housing associations but they say funding must come with the warm words.

Clarissa Corbisiero, Director of Policy and External Affairs / Deputy Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru, said: “It is absolutely right that Welsh government sets out a clear vision for how it wants to tackle the climate crisis and make Wales Net Zero by 2050. It confirms what we already know – that housing plays a leading role in meeting this ambition, and we are reassured that Welsh government shares this view.

“But while this is a view shared, any plan must have in place the right funding to make it deliverable. We look forward to this Welsh government’s first budget as an opportunity to ensure that funding matches the ambition.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The advice from the Climate Change Committee is clear, this must be a decade of action for Wales.

“We need to make more progress in the next ten years than we have in the last 30 years, this will be difficult but we will do it by working together.

“The challenges faced in coming decades cannot be under-estimated, and we must all work together to realise the opportunities available.

“In this plan, we also call on the UK Government to take the action which is needed to unlock a green future in Wales.

“While the UK cannot reach its targets without Welsh action, we cannot reach our ambition without the UK Government playing its fair part.

“We believe that by working together and taking collective action we can deliver a stronger, fairer and greener Wales for future generations.”

Climate Change Minister Julie James added: “This plan runs to almost 90,000 words showing the extent to which tackling the climate and nature emergencies have permeated our thinking but it is merely a snapshot in time.

“Our policies need to be delivered, our proposals need to grow and need to be shaped in conversation with the people of Wales.

“Net Zero Wales sets out both the action we will take and the things we are already doing.

“From creating places for nature to giving the poorest people in Wales warmer, more energy efficient homes, as well as the things we want to take forward in this Government term and in this carbon budget, like a reformed sustainable farming scheme and creating a national forest.

“We recognise we haven’t got all of the answers – we want to work with and learn from people across Wales to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face and this is why, along with Net Zero Wales, we are also publishing another document today.

“Working together to reach Net Zero showcases some of the excellent work that is already taking place in Wales and I would like to thank everybody who has contributed.

“We really need everyone to work with us on this and, although this document contains just some of the examples of commitments and good work already taken place, we wanted to share it in the hope of inspiring others.

“There are things we have to do to meet the climate emergency, but these things can also be opportunities – I look forward to working with you all to find solutions that bring benefits to Wales, enhance our communities and grow our local economies.”