A new approach is being called for by local authorities, as the government’s flagship scheme to improve energy efficiency is making progress slow and leaving fuel poverty targets in jeopardy.
The Local Government Association has announced that, according to analysis, households have lost £2 billion in lifetime bill savings due to a failure to match installation levels since 2013. The government’s scheme supported only 60,000 homes in 2022, a huge decrease from the near half a million that were supported a decade ago.
Data from the analysis showed that, based on current trends:
- 2.4 million fuel poor homes will be left without the scheme’s help by 2030, which is the target for the ending of fuel poverty.
- In order to delvier loft insulations to all the fuel poor homes that need it, it would take 550 years, and it would take 60 years to provide wall insulation improvements, despite the net zero target being only 27 years away.
- Now boilers are responsible for one in four measures, making up more than all loft and cavity insulation measures combined. This is not sustainable in the long-term.
After collecting this analysis, the LGA is calling for an acceleration in action to retrofit all social and fuel poor homes, with the argument that such schemes should be devolved to local authorities. This would ensure that projects to insulate homes and support businesses can be more targeted. Locally led approaches would become the foundations for cutting carbon emissions in all buildings, whilst also tackling the cost-of-living crisis and promoting health.
This is backed up with research showing that a move to a locally led approach to climate change action will not only cost three times less than if it was nationally controlled, but it will also deliver twice the financial returns.
Cllr Linda Taylor, Environment Spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said:
“Retrofitting more homes is a practical, sustainable, and economically responsible solution to raise housing standards and cut bills.
“National climate action is essential. But the complexity of supporting retrofitting in our 51 cities, 935 towns and 6,000 villages cannot be managed from a Whitehall desk. And the national schemes are struggling.
“It is now time to shift to a locally led approach, which would mean councils can target the homes that need the support most, while working with local businesses to build skills and growth.”