Latest Government statistics reveal that while the UK’s GDP has increased by almost 60 per cent since 2000 energy consumption has actually declined. Here is a simple test for everybody. By how much has UK energy consumption already increased during this century? Actually, this isn’t just a question for generalists. I have been regularly trying it out on energy specialists in companies, in trade bodies. Even among the senior civil service. The answer given varies. But almost without exception, the response is that consumption has gone up. Sometimes by 5 per cent, sometimes 10 per cent, sometimes 20 per cent or more. I then ask: how much do you think the country’s wealth has increased over the same period? And when I tell people that – even despite the recession - Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen by no less than 58 per cent between 2000 and 2012, I instantly get a re-evaluation of how much energy consumption has grown.
ACE has today joined with nearly 30 other civil society organisations in issuing a joint statement calling on the Government to lay without delay tough, enforceable regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard in the private rented sector. The sector has the highest proportion of the very worst homes (those in EPC Bands F and G) – with nearly half the households living in them suffering from fuel poverty. The Energy Act 2011 required the Government to bring forward regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard, expected to be set at Band E. However, these regulations look likely to be laid at least a year later than expected, leaving landlords and tenants alike facing uncertainty and confusion. We are therefore calling on the Government to lay the regulations as soon as possible, to specify that the standard will be Band E in all circumstances and to ensure that exemptions will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Consumer Futures commissioned ACE Research to model the cost and impact of introducing ambitious new fuel poverty targets. This new report presents the results of the research, as introduced by William Baker, Head of Fuel Poverty Policy at Consumer Futures. Consumer Futures has long advocated an ambitious strategy to address the fuel poverty crisis in England. We also consider a national programme to install extensive insulation and efficient heating systems in the homes of low income consumers would make a major contribution towards eliminating fuel poverty. The UK Government’s proposal to develop a new Fuel Poverty Strategy for England provides an important opportunity to introduce just such a programme.