Government Energy Bill will leave millions out in the cold

Millions of the UK's poorest people will be left out in the cold by the 'Green Deal' to improve the nation's homes - a scheme at the heart of the Government's Energy Bill being launched next week - Friends of the Earth warned today.

While the proposed Green Deal could encourage well-off homeowners to take advantage of loans to make their properties energy efficient, Friends of the Earth is warning it's unlikely to help the 4.5 million UK households living in fuel poverty who can't afford to heat their homes properly.

And it will not protect tenants dependent on the goodwill of landlords to invest in measures such as double glazing or people with hard-to-treat homes needing more than standard insulation procedures.

Friends of the Earth believes the Government's current Green Deal is inadequate and the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill as a whole stops well short of what is needed to cut climate-changing carbon emissions as quickly as the science says we must.

To make sure the UK gets this urgent green overhaul, the environmental charity is calling for the Energy Bill to deliver a strategy for eliminating fuel poverty and cutting emissions from houses by 42 per cent this decade, as well as ensuring every community does its bit to slash CO₂.

As 80 per cent of carbon emissions come from local activity - things like how we power our homes and get around - locally coordinated schemes to cut CO₂ are essential. Friends of the Earth believes introducing a nationwide system of local carbon budgets in the Bill is the fairest and most cost-effective way to ensure this happens.
Friends of the Earth's senior climate change campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

"The Government's 'Green Deal' will leave many people out in the cold - and will not cut carbon emissions as quickly as scientists say we must to avoid dangerous climate change.

"The self-styled 'greenest Government ever' must ensure the Energy Bill goes further, with a plan for a nationwide refit to slash emissions from British homes by 42 per cent this decade - starting with a minimum energy efficiency standard for homes rented through a private landlord or letting agency.

"Ministers must also help communities across the country tackle climate change by introducing new carbon budgets for each local council area to cut emissions. 

"A strong Energy Bill would bring about warmer homes, cheaper fuel bills, tens of thousands of new jobs and better public transport - the Government must not miss this chance to set us on course to a cleaner and greener future."

This call for a more ambitious plan comes ahead of the Government's Climate Change Committee announcement on 7 December, which is likely to recommend increasing our national targets to cut emissions.

And it comes as the Government prepares to publish its proposals for Electricity Market Reform - which Friends of the Earth say must set out a plan to decarbonise the UK's power sector by 2030 by encouraging investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure.

Key statistics

  • More than a quarter [27 per cent] of the UK's emissions come from heating our homes and water.
  • Friends of the Earth's research [2009] shows fitting homes with insulation and renewable energy systems could create up to 70,000 local green jobs across England and Wales.
  • Poor insulation means around £1 of every £4 spent on heating UK homes is wasted.

Source: Friends of the Earth

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.