A recent study estimates that it would take more than 46,000 people and £150 billion to build housing that meets government climate targets in the southeast of the UK. Earlier this year, a £53 million grant was given back to the government due to a shortage of skilled tradesmen. Universities are revising courses to include more energy efficiency and modern options. The Greater South East Net Zero Hub, which works with Local Business Partnerships (LEPs) from Hampshire to Norfolk and Kent to Northamptonshire, has received £78 million in funding. This year’s project lasted from March to September. But it was only able to finance 1,750 of the 7,500 homes in the area, which needed energy efficiency improvements like solar panels, heat pumps, and insulation. Unspent funds were returned to the federal government.

Hub manager Maxine Narburgh explained that the funding was “incredibly disappointing” due to the lack of installers. She also noted significant skill gaps, such as overlaps between her project and others run by the council. By 2050, 29 million homes in the UK will need solar panels, low-carbon heating systems, and improved energy efficiency explains Narburgh. A recent study indicates that the total number of workers trained in retrofitting should be at least 100,000 and up to 200,000 at peak times since employees will not always work full-time on new installations.