In an attempt to tackle the wide bearing issue of fuel poverty, the government has announced legislature to upgrade coldest homes to lower energy bills for the UK’s poorest.
Low income households will now receive support to improve heat insulation. Within practicality, the government will improve as many houses as possible that fall below the band C insulation ratings up to acceptable standards by 2030.
Currently, only 5% of England’s 2.3 million fuel poor homes reach the Band C standard. Raising these standards will cut energy bills, with potential savings of up to £1,000, regarding energy bills. The government will aim to gradually upgrade housing to band E by 2020 followed by band D by 2025 – with the eventual aim of band C by 2030.
Plans to improve local community support will also be put into action – aiming to assist those in dire need of local energy change – by connecting more houses to the local gas grid. Targets will also be set to support those who suffer from health issues related to the cold.
Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, said, “These proposals mark a radical shift away from old policies of tinkering at the edges without tackling the root causes of fuel poverty – homes that need too much energy and leak too much heat to be able to keep warm.
“We’ll target the worst properties first, where people in the most extreme cases face paying over £1,500 more than they need to. We’ll work with partners – including GPs and others working in in healthcare – to make sure the right help gets to those who need it the most.”
Campaign groups have criticised the government’s plan as “too little too late,” as Friends of the Earth fuel poverty campaigner Sophie Neuburg said.
She added, “Once again the government is failing those struggling to pay their fuel bills – their promise to bring fuel poor homes up to reasonable energy efficiency levels by 2030 is too little, too late.
“The caveat only to do what is ‘reasonably practicable’ makes the pledge meaningless. There must be a firm government commitment to bring all low income homes up to high energy efficiency standards, with no get-out clauses.”
Photo source: Garrett Coakley via Flickr