Energy Bill must pay more attention to energy efficiency

In a piece written for her regular Guardian environment blog, Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP calls for more action by the government on its commitment to energy efficiency.

She describes the bill as “an important piece of legislation that has the potential to transform the energy efficiency of our homes, improve energy security and set us on the right track towards a low-carbon economy.”

But she sounds a note of caution, “Turning that potential into reality, however, will require far greater political will and resources than have been evident in the committee meetings so far.”

Caroline’s appointment to the Energy Bill Committee has been her most significant opportunity to directly affect legislation. Amendments she tabled include phasing the lowest bands of energy efficient properties out of the rental market until only the top two bands could be let. This would “provide reassurance for privately renting tenants that poor quality housing will be weeded out once and for all, [and] help landlords by giving them a clear timetable for ongoing efficiency improvements.”

Unfortunately, government plans – such as phasing out the Warm Front scheme in 2013 and the lack of targeting of the new energy company obligation (ECO) – suggest that greater commitment is needed than has so far been shown.

Caroline said, “Ultimately, if we get this right, we can hope for huge improvements in the energy efficiency of our housing, to the social benefit of tenants, the economic benefit of landlords and the environmental benefit of reduced emissions from housing. When a win-win-win scenario like this is on offer, it’s hard to understand why the government would let it go begging.”

Caroline’s full post can be read here.

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