Press Release: Office of Jean Lambert MEP

2nd February 2007

 

GREEN MEP CALLS FOR RADICAL RETHINK OVER UK'S HOTHOUSES


As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that humans are to blame for climate change a new report, 'Hothouses', from Green MEP Jean Lambert has today warned that 'without a radical rethink over the UK's housing emissions we will fail to meet targets and combat climate change'.

Jean, who is Green MEP for London where emissions from the domestic sector account for 37%, higher than levels from transport and the greatest level of any English region, said that Government policies and initiatives to reduce such emissions simply were not robust enough.

Calling on the UK Government for more joined up thinking and leadership to apply best practice from elsewhere in the EU, Jean said; "Energy use in and by homes across the UK amount to about 30% of our carbon emissions but this could be reduced by a minimum of 60% by 2050 or earlier if the right energy saving policies are applied. The mechanisms in place to increase insulation and other forms of domestic energy savings however, are simply not fit for the purpose and will not make the required impact.

"With different Government departments and other agencies delivering a range of schemes, working to different standards, there is a lack of co-ordination. What we need to see is higher targets and expectations for Decent Homes, Warm Front and other Government run schemes."

This summer the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive comes into force in the UK with the potential to reduce emissions by requiring all homes that are sold or rented to be energy rated in a similar way to that of fridges and other white goods.

To make the directive a success one of the 27 recommendations from Jean Lambert's new report is to ensure the public can access consistent information, funding and advice on energy efficiency through 'one stop shops'.

Jean continued; "If we deal with energy-inefficient homes through extensive insulation programmes we can also combat fuel poverty which has doubled since 2003. By making homes both comfortable and sustainable we can tackle climate change and meet a social need.

"The urgency demanded by the threat of climate change and the problem of fuel poverty however requires a greater and more focused commitment to drive this agenda forward."

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.

The new report 'Hothouses' can be downloaded at www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk or call 020 7407 6269 for a hard copy

'Hothouses' makes 27 recommendations to improve energy efficiency in housing. Key recommendations in the report include:
· The UK Government needs to ensure early full compliance with Article 7 of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, in particular the requirement for Energy Certificates for all rental properties.
· All pensioners in private housing should be eligible for Warm Front and similar schemes tackling fuel poverty - including free insulation.
· Targets need to be set for the number of homes to have cavity wall insulation. Insulation figures and rates need to be monitored yearly and be reported to Parliament. Data by region and tenure should be produced.
· Insulation measures need to be made an explicit priority of the Decent Homes Programme. Local authorities, registered social landlords and all other agencies implementing Decent Homes need to make insulation improvements their priority area of action
· Eligibility and availability of grants and interest free loans need to be extended significantly. More proactive initiatives are needed to increase take up by those eligible.
· VAT on all energy saving measures, including DIY insulation materials should be reduced, preferably to a zero rating.

Insulation: Costs estimated at £260 per home
In the UK as a whole 30% of carbon emissions come from the domestic sector. In London this is 7% higher at 37% = 18.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or 5.1 MtC Mega tonnes of carbon compared with 10.1 million tonnes from transport