Banks will one day refuse mortgages for new houses that are not green, Leeds councillor claims

Major banks and building societies will not lend to house buyers for new properties that are not carbon neutral “in the coming years”, a senior Leeds politician has claimed.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 6:37 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 6:38 pm

The comments were made as members of Leeds City Council debated the issue of green careers and how to encourage young people in the city to look towards more environmentally-friendly areas of employment in the future.

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Coun Neil Walshaw (Lab), who chairs the authority’s climate emergency committee, claimed that at some point in the next few years, lenders would only finance new properties considered to be environmentally friendly and this would create “shockwaves” in the housebuilding industry.

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Members of Leeds City Council were debating the issue of green careers. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

A report into the issue suggested more could be done by the council to “inspire” young people towards so-called “green collar jobs”.

Coun Walshaw told the meeting: “We would like to go a lot further and a lot faster, but it would require central government to step up in the same way that local authorities are.

“Something that is not so much in the public domain at the moment, major lenders to builders and to ourselves as buyers, in the coming years, they are not going to lend for new builds that aren’t zero carbon. They will not lend for things that are obsolete and need a retro-fit. It is sending seismic ripples through the housebuilding industry.”

Green-collar jobs include industries such as renewable energy, environmentally-friendly waste management, and modern architecture and building development.

Coun Neil Buckley (Con), who sits on the panel, argued that when sourcing components for renewable infrastructure, the council should only buy from areas that were committed to becoming greener.

He added: “Presumably, as a city, we ought to require that any items made in terms of retrofitting should only be sourced from a country that was either carbon neutral or driving down that road.

“There is little point in fitting 20,000 heat source pumps when we have bought them from a country that didn’t really pay much heed to them.”

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