One casualty from the government’s watering down of net zero measures (apart from the climate itself) was revealed just hours after the retreat when the BBC revealed that the taskforce to speed up home insulation and boiler upgrades had been disbanded.
The group – which included the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt and other leading experts – was only launched in March. But it appears to be a casualty of Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap energy efficiency regulations for landlords in an ‘overhaul’ of green policies. Commission members were informed by letter seen by the BBC that it was being wound up.
Energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan told the group its work would be “streamlined” into ongoing government activity (whatever that means).
The UK has some of the least energy efficient homes in Europe. In 2020, BBC research found 12 million UK homes were rated D or below on their Energy Performance Certificates, which meant they did not meet long-term energy efficiency targets.
The Green Homes Grant, a voucher scheme for insulating homes was introduced by the government, was meant to help put this right, but was scrapped in 2021.The government said many households were reluctant to apply for the grants – up to £10,000 – because they feared catching Covid from contractors coming into their homes.
However, in some parts of the country installers were actually overwhelmed with demand, and many households could not even get firms to return their ‘phone calls.
Earlier parliament’s environmental audit select committee said the Green Homes Grant was so inept that it was actually damaging the building sector.