Why every UK household should declare a climate emergency – we need to send a collective message. We need a just and fair transition to limiting our emissions – and one that doesn’t push people towards fuel poverty. Almost a fifth of total UK emissions come from our 29 million homes, the vast majority of which are heated by gas boilers that emit carbon dioxide. We have one of the oldest and least energy-efficient housing stocks in Europe, and now, thanks to Covid-19, we are spending more time in them than ever before. Heat is lost through the fabric of these leaky buildings: through walls, floors and roofs, which means we consume far more gas than we should. It doesn’t look hopeful. Less than one year after the government earmarked around £2bn for the green homes grant – a new scheme intended to help households pay for energy efficiency retrofit improvements including home insulation, heat pumps and new efficient glazing – Boris Johnson scrapped it. Despite the strong will of households and the construction industry to partake, significant delays, problems issuing vouchers for grants and a complicated application process left many out of pocket and out of patience. There is an enormous opportunity here. A coordinated national retrofit strategy could create thousands of jobs, alleviate fuel poverty and allow the UK to build back better and establish a green recovery. Sometimes the solutions can be closer and more attainable than we think. If the continuation of human life on earth depends on reducing our emissions, then surely there is no alternative.
Independent 22nd Aug 2021 read more »