Seagulls cause delays in government’s green scheme

Government’s Whole House Retrofit scheme faces setbacks as roosting seagulls hinder construction progress in Cornwall, alongside other challenges in delivering energy-efficient housing upgrades

Seagulls nesting in Cornwall have created a surprising hurdle for the Whole House Retrofit (WHR) scheme, a government initiative to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in the UK.

Launched in June 2019, the WHR scheme aimed to explore cost-effective approaches to retrofitting entire houses.

The scheme awarded grants to four innovative projects led by social housing providers in Cornwall, London, Nottingham and Scotland.

A report Ipsos prepared in partnership with Energy Saving Trust and Technopolis Group suggests the WHR-funded projects faced unanticipated challenges during implementation.

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted the availability of project team staff, as well as the capacity of the wider supply chain to deliver materials and services.

This resulted in delays, prompting the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to grant a six-month extension to all projects.

In addition to the pandemic-related setbacks, specific project difficulties emerged, according to the report.

For instance, protected seagulls chose to nest in the roofs of targeted homes in Cornwall, hindering construction progress due to restrictions on disturbing fauna during construction activities.

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