Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils have launched a consultation on how to make lit easier for owners of listed building to make their home more energy eficient. They say both councils have thousands of listed properties, but these often suffer from poor energy performance due to factors such as limited insulation, poorly fitting windows and single glazing – which are costly to both the environment and owners.
Listed building owners currently have to apply for Listed Building consent to make change. But the two councils which work together could now become the first rural councils to introduce Listed Building Consent Orders (LLBCO).
In the areas covered this would safeguard the historic environment but streamline the approval of “balanced and sensitive energy efficiency improvements”.
Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk cabinet members for heritage, planning and infrastructure who lives in Mendleshamin Mendlesham, said::
“Our district’s wonderful heritage will not be compromised – but we can, at the same time, make it easier for people to make listed properties more energy efficient in a sympathetic and sensitive way.“We welcome the views of our residents, along with conservation and heritage organisations, and I would encourage everyone to take a look at this proposal and have their say.
Historic England has said retrofitting historic building will be fundamental in achieving net zero. And a report by leading conservation organisations suggest improving the energy efficiency of all per-1919 buildings in the UK would reduce carbon emmissions by 5% ea year.
Deborah Saw, Babergh council’s deputy leadersaid after the meeting on Nowember 7 which approved the consultation:
Listed buildings give our area its unique character and are one of its greatest assets. We must conserve this rich heritage, but at the same time this initiative could cut needless red tape for energy efficiency upgrades which are balanced and sensitively designed.
The current system is burdensome in terms of time and cost, creating a barrier for homeowners. This new, forward-thinking approach would encourage them to get work done, such as better insulation.
This would help reduce energy bills, protect buildings from climate change and cut carbon emissions. We would like to identify solutions to these critical issues which both meet the needs of our residents who live in these important buildings whilst protecting what is special about our district.