Skip to main content

Retrofit Taskforce

Find out more about the taskforce, what they do and how they'll help us meet our city-wide net zero target by 2040.

What is the Retrofit Taskforce

The Retrofit Taskforce is our team who drive strategic retrofit initiatives to meet our citywide 2040 net-zero target.

Retrofitting buildings in Westminster improves the building fabric and lowers energy demand which are key for our efforts to lower emissions. The Retrofit Taskforce was created to address the practical challenges of retrofitting vast building stocks, including heritage buildings, in Westminster.  

The taskforce is made up of several services across the council. This includes:

  • Design, conservation and sustainability team from our planning team
  • Planning policy
  • Housing sustainability
  • Climate emergency

External partners include a panel of independent industry experts, who offer technical and strategic input. Through this emerging strategic work, we expect to engage local stakeholders, such as property owners, housing associations and resident groups to become involved in the practical delivery of retrofitting. 

Work of the Retrofit Taskforce

A number of priority workstreams have been identified for the taskforce to focus on, including partnership and stewardship, pilot projects, planning processes, policies, and permissions. The work of the Retrofit Taskforce will position Westminster as the leading local authority in this field and create a replicable model to share with other local authorities and historic cities.  

 The five workstreams are: 

  1. Archetype approach and retrofit procurement club: Developing an archetype approach to Westminster’s building stock and exploring the potential of a Retrofit Procurement Club. 
  2. Planning policy and processes: Supporting the development of retrofit planning policy and exploring the opportunities within existing planning processes such as the use of Local Listed Building Consent Orders and Heritage Partnership Agreements. 
  3. Partnership pilot projects and case studies: Developing pilot projects with partner organisations and assembling case studies which demonstrate pathways to good retrofit. 
  4. Neutral and collaborative stewardship: Supporting a neutral and collaborative stewardship vehicle, complementing existing work in the field of retrofit. 
  5. Communication, guidance and training: Contributing towards improved communication, guidance and training relating to retrofit.

Retrofit in Westminster

Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions in London due to the city’s densely built environment. Westminster's existing buildings are responsible for 86% of the borough’s carbon emissions and this is one of the most significant challenges to meet our city-wide net zero target by 2040. 

Retrofit challenges around Westminster’s complex built environment include: 

  • 86% of homes in Westminster are in mansion blocks or converted street properties. This adds significant complexity as the responsibility for retrofitting lies with several stakeholders as the buildings have multiple ownership accompanied with complex freehold and leasehold arrangement. 
  • Over 11,000 listed buildings, the highest number of any local authority in the UK, which are not categorised by generic Building Archetypes. This adds a further layer of complexity to deliver retrofit at speed and at scale.  
  • 78% of Westminster is covered conservation areas, the highest of any local authority in the UK. These 56 conservation areas exist to manage and protect special architectural interest and restrict changes to the external fabric. In return, this makes some retrofit interventions more challenging to implement, for example a historic building’s fabric will typically have higher condensation risk. 

Published: 15 December 2023

Last updated: 15 December 2023