Government Launches £1 Billion Insulation Scheme
And £18 Million Campaign to Tell You to Not Heat Empty Rooms
Middle income and the least energy efficient homes are being targeted by the government in the latest scheme launched by Energy Secretary Grant Shapps, as well as those identified as the most vulnerable. The ECO+ scheme, announced today, is about helping hundreds of thousands of homes install new insulation and is estimated to save homeowners around £310 a year. It’s all part of our journey towards net zero as we aim to increase the warmth kept in our homes and avoid wasted heat and energy.
An additional £18 million campaign will give homeowners advice on how to save on energy bills, something that Liz Truss was not willing to commit to. This public information campaign includes information such as reducing boiler flow temperatures and not heating up empty rooms, which can save households around £160 a year. This is to help people in the short term while the insulation is more of a long term goal. And at the pace that the Tories are setting, it very much is a long term goal.
As part of our net zero strategy and to increase our energy independence, the government has also set a target of a 15% reduction in energy use by 2030. Insulation is the quickest and most effective way of reaching this target as uninsulated homes are a massive cause of emissions and wasted heat. By giving lower income households a helping hand and properly insulating their homes, we can start to make sure less energy is wasted.
Greenpeace teased this strategy back in September as a way of offering the economy £7 billion in the form of 140,000 new jobs across the country. Even though Labour has criticised this plan as coming too little, too late, does it go far enough? Greenpeace has said the funding is not nearly enough to help the homes that are in desperate need of rescue from fuel poverty. £6 billion in funds will ramp up the pace and increase the rollout nationwide. While £1 billion pounds sounds like a lot, it’s not at a required level.
The ECO scheme was initially launched in January 2013 and has delivered over 3.5 million energy efficient measures in about 2.4 million homes. The ECO+ scheme will be delivered from spring next year for three years. All homes are looking to be an EPC rating of C or above by 2035. Currently, this percentage stands at 46%, but was much lower in 2010, at 13%. If the pace stays the same, we’ll reach 100% by 2042.
According to the government website, an additional £6 billion in investment for this project will be available between 2025 to 2028. You can understand the frustration when individuals and groups alike feel as though the government is always in a point of delaying action. 19 million homes in England and Wales are badly insulated and nearly 7 million homes are suffering from fuel poverty already. It’s small comfort for a select few hundred thousand homes that they will receive insulation next year when they’re already struggling this winter.