The unjust postcode lottery in energy efficient homes revealed in new data
New ONS data reveals residents in some parts of the country are six times more likely to live in a home with poor energy efficiency than elsewhere.
Ageing Better is calling on the government to provide financial support for households facing a second winter of sky-high energy prices and is also recommending a nationwide home improvement scheme.
Huge regional differences in the energy efficiency of homes have been revealed in new ONS data released this morning.
The latest ONS data on the energy efficiency of housing in England and Wales reveals that residents living in some parts of England are up to six times more likely to be living in an energy efficient home than in other parts of the country.
The new data reveals that Tower Hamlets and City of London have the highest percentage of dwellings in energy efficiency band C or higher (79% and 67%, respectively), while the Isles of Scilly and Pendle had the lowest percentage (13% and 24%, respectively.
The vast majority of properties require an EPC Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) whenever being built, sold or rented, which assess a property’s energy use, typical energy costs and recommendations about how to reduce usage. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for ten years.
The Centre for Ageing Better is highlighting how this shocking postcode lottery has huge financial, and potentially health, repercussions for residents living in homes with poor energy efficiency.
We are calling on the government to deliver a nationwide home improvement scheme that will help residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
We are also urging the government to revive its Energy Bills Support Scheme with households facing extremely high energy bills for a second winter in a row.
Ageing Better analysis reveals how areas with low proportions of energy efficiency homes subsequently have higher levels of fuel poverty.
The proportion of households that are fuel poor in Pendle (19.8%) is twice as high as the proportion of households in fuel poverty in Tower Hamlets (8.7%).
Homes with poor energy efficiency are a particular concern for older people who are more likely to spend longer in their homes and more likely to have health conditions that are exacerbated by the cold.
Stats show that the proportion of local people who are over 65 is three times higher in Pendle (18%) than in Tower Hamlets (5%).
Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“The huge regional differences in the availability of energy efficient homes mean that some residents are up to six times as likely to be living in an energy efficient home than others. This shocking postcode lottery highlights the urgent need for a national home improvement scheme to level up these substantial inequalities.
“The difference between having an EPC rating of C or D is enormously expensive for individual households, costing those in less energy efficient homes an annual inefficiency penalty of £580.
“It is also extremely costly for the environment, with every step down in EPC rating equalling an increase of carbon emissions of between 30-40%.
“It is unfair that some homeowners should be forced to pay more to heat their homes, or put their health at risk by using their heating less, simply because of a lack of energy efficient housing in the neighbourhoods where they live.
We think these huge regional differences in energy efficiency should compel the government to create a national home improvement strategy to improve the quality of England’s housing stock which is among the least energy efficient in Western Europe.
“This should be supported by a network of regional one-stop shops that provide residents across the country with access to advice and support for home improvement.
“These policies should be supported with sufficient levels of funding that meet the scale of the problem. Currently the country spends more money maintaining the Houses of Parliament than is invested in the rest of England’s 20 million privately rented and owner-occupied homes combined.
“We are also calling on the government to renew the financial support it gave households through its Energy Bills Support Scheme again this year.
The government has missed the opportunity to deliver a concerted effort to help people make their homes more energy efficient since last winter and be better prepared to face another incoming winter of high energy costs.
“Households, already hit by cost-of-living stresses, are now facing higher energy bills than last year unless the government steps in with new financial support.
“A failure to increase financial support now will be a moral and policy failing and will likely result in substantial increases in fuel poverty and heightened risk of thousands of cold home deaths this winter."