LORD DEBEN, CHAIR OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITTEE, has written to the  Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, urging him to invest in a nationwide insulation programme.

The letter points out that a decade ago, 2.3 million energy efficiency measures were installed annually through Government-backed schemes. In 2021, fewer than 100,000 were installed. Lord Deben says reducing energy demand in UK buildings is now the biggest gap in current Government energy policy.

With higher prevailing energy prices, Lord Deben says, investments in energy efficiency measures are recouped faster through savings on energy bills, even as inflation increases some construction costs. The Government can lead by example by investing in the energy efficiency of the public estate, demonstrating national and local government efforts to reduce energy demand.

Lord Deben says a combination of public funding and Government action is required to facilitate access to and reduce the cost of capital. The Committee’s updated analysis suggests that over 60 per cent of households can achieve levels of energy efficiency that are compatible with Net Zero for less than £1,100.

Commenting on the letter, Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said: “The Climate Change Committee is spot on. A rapid roll-out of basic insulation such as cavity wall and loft insulation, smart heating controls and energy advice for householders is urgently needed.

“Friends of the Earth has identified almost 9,000 neighbourhoods in England and Wales where incomes are low, but with energy costs higher than average due to poor insulation. These communities need to be prioritised – and with many in these areas likely to be struggling with rising costs, they need financial help to install energy saving measures.

“Fixing the UKs heat leaking homes will cut energy bills, help keep people warm, boost energy security and slash carbon emissions.

“The Chancellor must recognise this in next week’s Autumn Statement by committing to investing at least £5 billion annually on insulation over the coming years.”

Friends of the Earth is urging the government to invest in a nationwide street by street home insulation programme – to be funded in part by a bigger and bolder windfall tax on fossil fuel company profits.

The Climate Change Committee is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

* Lord Deben’s letter, with supporting information, charts and data is available to download here.

* Read Friends of the Earth’s research on the UK communities most impacted by rising energy prices here.

* Sources: Climate Change Committee and Friends of the Earth