Oxford and Cambridge hit housebuilding targets while cutting emissions

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The cities of Oxford and Cambridge have managed to slash their greenhouse gas emissions while still exceeding housebuilding targets, according to new analysis.

The university locations achieved the lowest levels of emissions of any major cities in England and Wales, according to Office for National Statistics data.

Yet both have still managed to hit their targets to build new homes.

Cambridge was expected to build 1,612 homes between 2018 and 2021, but managed 528 more, data from property platform LandTech shows.

Over the same period Oxford built 1,879 new homes against a target of just 88, the company said.

“Despite being knowingly well-funded cities – not least thanks to boom industries such education and technology/life sciences – both university towns have proven its possible for population and housing delivery to significantly increase while reducing harmful greenhouse gases,” said LandTech co-founder Jonny Britton.

“Both cities have a track record for smart planning and investment in critical infrastructure which must act as an example to the rest of the UK.”

Experts believe that decarbonising homes in the UK will be one of the biggest challenges in meeting the country’s environmental targets.

Currently around three in four homes are heated purely by burning gas, a fossil fuel, and the UK also has some of the worst-insulated homes in Europe.

Analysis of the ONS data shows that Oxford managed to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 44% over the past decade, the most of any city analysed.

Cambridge had the lowest overall emissions of the cities and had seen a reduction of nearly 43% over a decade.

Leeds had the smallest drop at 34%, the data shows.

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