About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Which English local authorities have received government grants for home decarbonisation?

Many local authorities are keen to play a lead role in decarbonisation. But do they have the resources to do so effectively?

At Nesta, one of our core missions is to help reduce household emissions in the UK, so we are particularly interested in local authorities’ role in home decarbonisation and how we might help.

The government has recently run two grant-funding competitions for local authorities in England to support home decarbonisation: the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Demonstrator Fund. We looked at where the money has gone, to see if there were any patterns among successful local authority bids and whether the funding appears to be following the level of need in communities.

Key findings

  • Two-thirds of English local authorities received some funding. 224 of England’s 339 principal local authorities (unitary authorities, London boroughs, metropolitan boroughs, county councils and district councils) received grant funding from at least one of the schemes – 66 per cent of all local authorities.
  • Grants were unevenly spread across the English regions. The largest number of grants went to the East Midlands, which received 23 grants. The North West, with eight grants, received the smallest number.
  • The North East and West Midlands have a relatively small number of grants and a relatively low proportion of local authorities receiving funding. The West Midlands also has a cluster of local authorities with high fuel poverty rates that received no funding.
  • There wasn’t strong evidence that funding is following need. We did not find a relationship between grants received and levels of fuel poverty or energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings.
  • There is some evidence that grant-winning capability is concentrated in a group of local authorities. Thirty-nine local authorities between them won 81 individual and consortium grants (54 per cent of the total).

Policy recommendations

  • To help local authorities act strategically in decarbonising homes, we suggest that longer-term funding streams need to be introduced, since competitive bidding is always likely to favour those that are already well placed.

This report is part of our policy library for decarbonising home heating

Explore the library to learn more


Christopher Williamson

Christopher Williamson

Christopher Williamson

Junior Data Scientist, Data Analytics Practice

Chris was a junior data scientist in the Data Analytics Practice, embedded in the sustainable future mission team.

View profile
Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Mission Director, sustainable future mission

Madeleine leads Nesta’s mission to create a sustainable future, which focuses on decarbonisation and economic recovery.

View profile