The UK will lose its long-term, legally binding climate targets if the government does not address energy efficiency at home as a priority, lawmakers warn.
In one new report published today (22 March), MPs in the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) are warning that the UK Government has underestimated the costs of decarbonizing existing UK homes by 2050 – its net-zero deadline – with it at least mil 35 billion. In the worst-case scenario, reconstruction costs could be 65 65 billion higher than current forecasts.
The report criticizes the Government’s submission of the Green House Grant itself and its decision not to make the scheme part of a broader, longer-term approach. Regarding the former, Ministers recently announced that around 1.5 1.5 billion of the planned së 2 billion scheme will be withdrawn, citing the lack of certified suppliers to deliver the works.
Many green groups had hoped that Chancellor Rishi Sunak would use this month’s Budget speech to allocate 1.5 1.5 billion and announce a replacement scheme, but this did not happen. The latest Government figures at Grant Homes Grant show that only 125 125 million coupons have been issued so far – only 8% of the amount originally promised.
With the Grant escalation, the EAC claims, the government has allocated about 4 4 billion to .2 9.2 billion for the energy efficiency promised in the Conservative Party manifesto for the 2019 general election. The report recommends that existing schemes have their own funding. charged money and distributed without delay “. He also calls for reduced VAT rates on renovations – both in terms of labor and materials.
Beyond funding, the report criticizes the Government’s approach to regulating and measuring household energy efficiency. It describes evidence that social housing and rental properties are usually less energy efficient than fully owned homes by some EPC classes. It goes on to call itself the obsolete EPC and urges Ministers to develop a methodology that places more burden on carbon. Building Renovation Passports, as proven in markets like the EU, are emerging as a potential replacement.
With housing making up one-fifth of the UK’s annual domestic emissions and with more than 80% of the buildings standing today set to stand still in 2050, these failures could jeopardize climate progress in general, the EAC believes.
The EAC is calling on Ministers to adopt the report’s recommendations through the forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy. edie realizes that the policy framework, originally expected last fall, is now likely to be published soon after Easter.
“Getting 19 million homes ready for zero-net Britain by 2050 is a major challenge that the Government does not seem to have understood yet,” said EAC Chairman Philip Dunne MP.
“In the next 29 years, the Government should improve energy efficiency improvements and open up low-carbon measures: a material start should be made now… .Realism should be injected into the Government. A much better understanding of cost, pace, scale and feasibility of skills development is much needed for Britain zero-zero.
The reaction of the green economy
As expected, the EAC report has drawn a lot of praise from groups that expressed disappointment with the Green House Grant cuts.
Green Alliance policy leader Chris Venables said: “The hugely popular Green House Grant has the potential to be a massive scheme for creating climate-friendly jobs at a crucial moment in the UK’s economic recovery. the chorus of voices cheering for this scheme amass even more pressure on the government to support small businesses that tease a little to update our run-down homes.
Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) analyst Jess Ralston added: “Despite the government talking a good zero-zero game, it is clear that this is not showing up in action to cut carbon off our homes. Hasty policies that fragment and seemingly at random risk undermine the public’s enthusiasm for fixing our run-down homes, damages that could hurt future schemes for years to come.
“The benefits of getting this right are clear; hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs, lower bills, less carbon and more comfortable homes. The only obstacle to protecting our homes climate is government inaction, with each year delaying only exacerbating the problem.
“There is no way to reach zero-zero without dealing with emissions from homes. With a large number of recent policy decisions undermining the UK’s credibility on climate ahead of this year’s important COP26 meeting, it would be a mistake to add another to the list.
The recent “litany” referred to by Ralston includes further delays in the Environment Bill, possible withdrawals from sustainable agriculture and plastic waste exports, and, of course, the increasingly controversial coke coal mine in Cumbria.
The Association for Decentralized Energy (ADE) told edie that it fully supports the EAC recommendations. “This timely report rightly raises the issue of the current fragmented government policy towards the reconstruction of existing buildings that has consistently underestimated the difficulty of the task in question,” said ADE Chief Strategic Adviser Dr Joanne Wade.
The chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, Julie Hirigoyen, added: “Unfortunately, the findings of this investigation do not come as a surprise. The publication of this report comes amid continuing uncertainty about the future of the Green Grant scheme, which is extremely destabilizing for businesses trying to plan around it and consumers wanting to get into it. It also comes right after a Budget in which energy efficiency stood out only for its lack.
“The government must comply with the Committee’s recommendations by catching nettles to deliver a comprehensive, well-funded, long-term program for home energy reconstruction – including the .2 9.2 billion package of energy efficiency measures promised in the Conservative manifesto. “
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