'Save lives by insulating homes', FoE urge Government

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Commenting on the numbers of excess deaths last winter, revealed in Government figures in late November 2010, Friends of the Earth's Warm Homes campaigner Dave Timms said: "Lower outbreaks of flu helped cut winter deaths last year despite the bitterly cold weather - improving homes so they're better insulated and cheaper to heat could help save even more lives.

"Living in a cold, damp house can make heart disease and strokes more likely - it's a disgrace that millions of vulnerable people in Britain live in homes lacking basic insulation.

"Next month's Energy Bill is an opportunity for the Government to protect the nation's health and tackle climate change by delivering a nationwide refit to improve the worst insulated homes by 2020."

Key statistics from the report:

  • There were an estimated 25,400 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2009/10 - a 30 per cent decrease compared to 2008/09.

  • The number of extra deaths in winter varies depending on temperature, level of disease (particularly influenza) and other factors. Winter 2009/10 was the coldest since 1995/96 but flu levels were below baseline levels for most of the season.

The truth is that the great majority of homes, whether council-, housing association-, or otherwise owned, lack just the most basic insulation, such as good windows that are not drafty, let alone double glazing. Other insulation too is sadly missing, whether they be wall or loft insulation, or whatever other kind.

I personally know of council homes where the wood of the windows is so bad that there are gaping holes in it letting blasts of air in and the council refusing to so anything about it citing “lack of money.”

Private landlords, especially so-called “slum landlords”, we do not even want to talk about here, will we. Most of those properties are not insulated at all and often are not just drafty but otherwise cold and damp, putting the health and life of people at risk.

It is a very sad state of affairs when countries of the kind of Britain have homes in such a sad condition putting the health of residents at risk. Not surprising that some foreign visitors arriving here have mistaken us for a Third World country.

© 2010