The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed dismay that energy efficiency measures have been left out of the government’s new Energy Security Strategy.
The new strategy aims to reduce the UK’s reliance on oil and gas, by creating eight new nuclear reactors. It also outlines plans to speed up approvals for new offshore wind farms and for the doubling of targets for hydrogen production to support cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
The Prime Minister has also announced plans to reform the rules for installing solar panels on homes and commercial buildings to help increase the current solar capacity by up to five times by 2035.
A key element of the strategy is to further develop domestic oil and gas production with a new licensing round for North Sea projects in the summer.
While the energy strategy includes small additional funding for heat pumps it does not include any new proposals or support for energy efficiency measures to help ease the spiralling cost of living crisis.
Tamara Sandoul, Policy and Campaigns Manager for CIEH has said: ‘It is positive to see the Government unveil a plan to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the UK’s energy security. This is an ambitious plan, particularly when it comes to clean energy generation, which is urgently needed to achieve the long-term ambition of achieving net zero.’
Sandoul goes on to say that energy security that is based on fossil fuels can only be short term if the government heeds the warnings in the latest IPCC report published earlier this week.
‘The energy strategy is unlikely to do much in the short term to alleviate the hardship for many people struggling with high energy bills and is undermined by the lack of funding allocated for energy efficiency in homes. This will be devastating for many poorer households when Winter comes. It is a missed opportunity not to use the next 6 months to accelerate the installation of insulation measures in homes to prepare for the Winter months. The Treasury has many questions to answer about why these steps are not being funded.
‘The UK urgently needs is a long-term investment strategy into energy efficiency measures for homes. This should include grants, zero interest loans, and other incentives for households, across all tenures to reduce their energy demand as well as assist with the transition to renewables where this can be achieved.
‘Previous short-term schemes like Green Homes Grant failed to deliver because industry were not prepared and schemes were not well designed. However, the principles were good and should now, more than ever given the climate emergency and the latest IPCC report, be revisited as a matter of urgency.’
Photo by Erik Mclean