Historic buildings and heritage sites could help in the UK’s battle against climate change, according to a new study.
Commissioned by property business Grosvenor, the study has estimated that making historic buildings more energy efficient could generate carbon savings equivalent to 5% of the country’s total building-related carbon emissions.
With more than 500,000 buildings in England alone protected by statutory listing and hundreds of thousands more situated in conservation areas, the research has indicated it would be an oversight if the government was not to consider them a contributing factor to its net zero aims.
The report has called for government to align heritage protection and environmental sustainability more closely this summer.
Tor Burrows, Executive Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Grosvenor, commented: “The UK is a world leader in heritage protection. Time and again we have proved that our nation’s historic assets can be sensitively adapted to changing times and new uses.
“But ambiguous policy, inadequate funding and a major skills gap are stalling our ability to help them adapt once more, this time against the climate emergency.
“In 2021, we have a unique chance to protect our heritage and the environment. Nobody intended COP26 to arrive alongside planning reform but it creates an amazing impetus.
“The potential prize is equivalent to a 5% reduction in UK emissions associated with buildings and a substantial contribution to the sixth carbon budget. We just need the bravery to act and the place to start is getting policy right.”