Flawed Energy Bill delayed for home improvements
Delays to the Energy Bill are an opportunity for the Government to come back to Parliament with a serious homes insulation programme, new measures to give councils real local leadership on climate change, and make the Bill deal now with the coldest private rented homes. As it stands, the Green Deal will cause the UK to fail to meet its emissions targets under the Climate Change Act. It will fall 3 million tonnes of CO2 short of its legally binding CO2 targets, because over 5 million homes won’t be treated. WWF and 50 organisations, including major retailers set to deliver the Green Deal, wrote to Chris Huhne (17 June) urging him to correct the inadequacies in the Energy Bill.
Speaking yesterday at the TUC’s climate change conference, What makes a good green government? (7 July 2011), FoE Director Andy Atkins also welcomed the delay to the Bill. “All is not well with it”, he said. There are three months to campaign together for a better Bill to deal with cold, poorly insulated homes and provide new powers for council leadership in such schemes.
Atkins defined a good green government as “government taking responsibility for the planet and putting it right”. A clear vision was needed, but underpinned by clear milestones and commitments that would actually deliver what was needed. FoE had “big issues with the current government”, a grand vision but not willing the tools to deliver it.
Earlier at the conference, Energy Minister Greg Barker had promised a “new coherence in industrial policy”, and a new partnership between government and the private sector. He described the Green Deal as “the most ambitious home insulation programme since WW2. 13 million homes would be treated by 2020.
However, the Fourth carbon budget was approved by Parliament on 29 June 2011, but according to WWF, it cannot be met without a step change in delivery. The Government is set to under-deliver on loft and cavity wall insulation compared with the indicators set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). At best, Government policies will deliver little more than 50% of what the CCC state is required from this sector to meet carbon budgets.