New funding for energy efficiency in the home disappointingly absent from government’s new net zero plan
The government has unveiled a new 1,000-page net zero plan featuring dozens of measures aimed at reducing the country’s carbon emissions.
Our Chief Executive, Dr Carole Easton OBE, has described the announcement as a missed opportunity to start delivering on an ambitious home improvement strategy to fix the nation’s flawed housing stock.
The range of measures included in the Powering Up Britain strategy include proposals for the UK's first carbon capture sites in Teesside, new hydrogen projects and the use of small modular nuclear reactors.
The government was forced to publish this "Powering up Britain" strategy after the High Court judged last July that its current plan was not detailed enough to show how the UK would meet its goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The Centre for Ageing Better is among a number of campaigners expressing disappointment at a lack of additional funding for home insulation and energy efficiency to reduce one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the country.
The strategy does include plans to extend a scheme offering households £5,000 to replace their gas boilers with heat pumps by three years and the renaming of the ECO+ scheme, delivering £1 billon additional investment in energy efficiency upgrades such as loft and cavity wall insulation, to the Great British Insulation Scheme.
Ageing Better is encouraged by new plans to consult on how to improve the energy efficiency of owner-occupied homes as well as proposals to develop the government’s advice service which will help domestic consumers select the most suitable energy efficiency improvements through a dedicated national phoneline and local advice demonstrator projects.
Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“Another major energy policy announcement from the government has been delivered with no new action on or funding for insulation and energy efficiency of homes despite buildings accounting for a quarter of the country’s greenhouse emissions.
“And this lack of action comes in the week when the government’s efforts on improving the energy efficiency of homes have been heavily criticised for a lack of ambition and scale by the National Infrastructure Committee.
“This is another missed opportunity for the government to start delivering on an ambitious home improvement strategy to fix our flawed housing stock and make the nation’s homes safe and warm for all.
“Not only would this programme make significant inroads towards the UK’s net zero targets but it would help protect many older people whose homes currently pose a risk to their personal safety and cause them enormous mental anguish.
“This winter’s cost-of-energy crisis has made a watertight case for such action to be taken urgently and yet there is little response from the government.
“We do welcome the new government commitment to consult on improving the energy efficiency of owner-occupied homes by the end of this year. Ageing Better has long advocated for significant government action to fix our old and draughty homes, particularly as more than 40% of the 15 million homes with an energy rating of D or below are headed by a single person or couple aged over 60.
"Urgent action on this issue is desperately needed. Millions of people live, and thousands die every year, in cold and dangerous homes. It is vital that this consultation is delivered as soon as possible, and the government then seizes the opportunity to finally deliver an ambitious home improvement strategy that addresses poor housing, improves energy efficiency and delivers green jobs and skills around the country.”