Home insulation policy ‘fell off a cliff’


There is a “shocking” gap in UK Government efforts to ensure homes are better insulated in the face of soaring energy bills, climate advisers have said.

The Climate Change Committee’s latest report warns that Tory government plans for tackling global warming will not deliver on legal targets to cut emissions in the coming decades.

And the independent advisory committee singled out energy efficiency to make UK homes less leaky and cheaper to heat, along with a lack of action on farming emissions, as particular problem areas.

Renewables

In its annual report to Parliament on the progress being made to tackle the UK’s contribution to climate change, the committee called for action to address the rising cost of living that is in line with cutting emissions to zero over all – known as net zero – by 2050.

A fast, sustained push to improve energy efficiency in homes and switch to electric heating, such as heat pumps, to reduce fossil fuel consumption would help people cope with high energy prices, it said.

The average annual energy bill for UK households is around £40 more than it would be if insulation had carried on at rates seen before policy support was removed in 2012, and British homes are among the most heat-leaking in Europe.

The report calls for the government to consider increased funding for energy efficiency in fuel-poor homes, as well as a widespread publicity campaign for its promised new energy advice service and policies to incentivise home-owners to improve their properties.

The committee also said it supports moving the costs of historical green subsidies off electricity bills and into general taxation to cut energy costs and encourage people to move to electric heat pumps. But more recent arrangements for paying for renewables are saving consumers money through cheap wind power.

Prices

The installation of insulation measures “fell off a cliff” a decade ago, the committee’s chief executive, Chris Stark, said.

He described the situation as a “complete tale of woe”, with an industry devastated by the removal of support in 2012 being expected to gear up again and consumers expected to demand energy efficiency without any policy measures to support them.

“We call this shocking, that’s what it is,” he said. “We absolutely must be doing something about this at scale; making homes better insulated is absolutely a critical factor, especially when we’re experiencing such high energy prices.”

Mr Stark said there are better ways to deal with high energy prices than the package of payments announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who, he said, should be supporting insulation to save on bills.

Mike Thompson, CCC director of analysis, said: “There has never been a better time to insulate your house, with gas prices at the levels that they are, the pressure on imports and energy security.



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