A ‘war effort’ is needed to insulate our homes
A report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has called for a “war effort” to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes. The cross parliamentary body has called for increased funding to meet the target of 2.5 million homes being upgraded each year by 2030.
With the energy crisis continuing to impact households across the country the report states a “window of opportunity” was missed last summer to improve the insulation of homes.
Compared to our European neighbours UK homes are some of the least energy efficient and progress to address this has been slow. Although installations peaked in 2012 at 2.3 million due to government subsidies, these were later cut by David Cameron and numbers fell to fewer than 100,000 upgrades in 2021.
“We must fix our leaky housing stock, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and wastes our constituents’ hard-earned cash,” says Philip Dunne, the Conservative MP who chairs the EAC. “There have been significant missed opportunities in recent months: the Government could have gone further and faster,” he added.
Simon McWhirter, the UKGBC Director of Communications, Policy & Places, has called for the Government to urgently improve both its clarity and ambition on decarbonising the built environment if we are to meet our net zero commitment. “Like any war effort, making the right choices can save lives: energy efficiency can prevent a range of illnesses and conditions to save the NHS £1.4 billion and 10,000 lives a year.”
A Government spokesperson has responded to this report stating that the government has committed £6.6 billion this parliament and a further £6 billion to 2028 to make buildings more energy efficient. Beyond this there is also a government energy-saving campaign that raises awareness of simple actions people can take to bring down the energy needed to keep homes warm this winter.
The report also covers our dependence on fossil fuels, calling for the rapid rollout of onshore windfarms and for the government to set a date to end the licensing of new oil and gas fields.