Residents’ views on the UK’s Net Zero Carbon journey

Monday 29th of March 2021

Communication is key if social landlords are to deliver the decarbonisation agenda say PlaceShapers and Tpas.

The social housing sector should work collaboratively to develop clear communications advice so landlords can best work with residents and communities to deliver green homes.

This is the key finding of a report from Tpas and PlaceShapers, based on focus groups with over 100 residents and key sector sustainability experts.

Tpas and PlaceShapers were concerned that residents’ understanding of what the Government’s Net Zero Carbon target means for their homes wasn’t being adequately considered by policy makers and landlords. Their report,’ Residents’ voices in the UK’s Net Zero Carbon journey’ contains insights from residents from around the country and makes several recommendations to landlords and the government to help deliver a step change in communication and engagement with residents and communities.

Jenny Osbourne, Tpas Chief Executive who chaired the resident sessions commented,

‘It was great to hear what sector stakeholders thought and their experiences and then compare to what we heard at the resident sessions. We heard similar views but many other thoughts that were completely different, which really made us think. Each session was packed full of questions and insights from residents about green homes and sustainability more broadly, but there were still loads of questions to answer.'

The report’s findings are split into three categories:

  • Motivation and engagement – the motivating factors that social landlords can use to engage residents with the net-zero carbon agenda.
  • Communication – how social landlords can effectively communicate with residents to demonstrate the benefits of decarbonisation and their ability to deliver low carbon homes.
  • Trust – how social landlords can work with residents to integrate the net-zero carbon agenda into day-to-day service that delivers on sustainability and satisfaction.

The report finds that key to good engagement is a clear message that focuses on saving money as much as saving the planet. It also recommends social landlords employ resident engagement experts to talk about the new technologies, and that every staff member must have knowledge of green technology so they can respond to residents’ questions and concerns.

As well as making recommendations to the social housing sector, it calls on the Government to use the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) in November to launch a nationwide information campaign about the net-zero carbon target and the role people and places play in meeting it.

Jonathan Higgs Chief Executive of Raven Housing Trust and PlaceShapers Board Member said:

“Throughout this year, we’ve been speaking to PlaceShapers members about their key priorities and areas of work. Meeting the net-zero target has been mentioned by everyone. But while lots of thought is being given to business planning, and the new technology we need, we felt there wasn’t enough focus on the impact on people and places. This report shows, the zero-carbon agenda can connect with what residents value, and a long term plan for engagement offers opportunities to build on the strong foundations of trust that already exist between many social landlords and their residents.”

You can download the report from our resource hub here