7m homes to get expert energy makeover by 2020

Seven million homes are to get energy makeovers by 2020 under plans to make all UK homes almost carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

Ed Miliband said the UK could not afford not to act on the amount of energy used by homes

Ed Miliband said the UK could not afford not to act on the amount of energy used by homes

Ministers announced that households will be able to receive expert help to reduce their fuel bills and access low-carbon heat and power under the Heat and Energy Saving Strategy.

The draft plan, which has been published for consultation, aims to help the country meet its target of an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "We cannot afford not to act. Every home must be able to access the help and technology it needs, whether it be the installation of a ground or air source heat pump, solar heating, solid wall insulation or access to a district heating scheme.

"Most importantly, I want to ensure that help to meet the costs is available to people house by house, street by street, and that lower income families don't miss out."

Proposals include:
  • Providing finance packages for households to install energy efficiency measures and low-carbon heat and power sources

  • Introducing a Renewable Heat Incentive and a Feed-in Tariff for small-scale electricity generation

  • Establishing a central coordinating body funded by energy companies to provide energy efficiency advice

  • Rolling out low-cost home energy audits

  • Ahead of the announcements, Friends of the Earth had warned that Government plans to cut emissions from housing were not moving fast enough (see related story).

    Following publication of the consultation documents, Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy Atkins said: "An ambitious target to cut household emissions by a third by 2020 is certainly needed to help meet the challenge we face - but this won't be achieved if we wait four years for major work to begin.

    "An urgent and comprehensive green homes programme must be a central part of Government plans to kick-start the economy."

    Nathan Argent, head of energy solutions at Greenpeace, said: "This plan needs much more investment right now. The government needs to put their wallet where their mouth is."

    Scottish Executive Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell also asked UK Government ministers for a "cast iron guarantee" that Scotland's rural areas and islands would not be neglected in the plans.

    A consultations was also opened on the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), which proposes a 20% increase in the current energy efficiency scheme.

    Read both sets of consultation documents here.

    Kate Martin



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