Last Wednesday Communities Secretary Eric Pickles concluded an unusually swift and unpublicised (at least, by him) "public consultation" into whether there is any purpose in requiring Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for public buildings. These are the A to G ratings which for the past seven years you should have expected to find exhibited "in a prominent position" in any of the 58,000 buildings occupied by the public sector, that you might be visiting. That means central and local government offices, libraries, sports centres, schools and colleges, hospitals and surgeries, museums, and so on. This very Thursday - just six working days after his "public consultation" closed - Pickles is due to receive from his officials their considered conclusions.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey is finally laying regulations before Parliament that are intended to bring the coldest and leakiest private-rented homes up to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate of Band E by April 2018. But today’s development does not go far enough. Given Britain’s status as the ‘Cold Man of Europe’, and that energy efficiency support for households, particularly fuel poor households, has collapsed this winter, we cannot stress enough that the regulations have got to go further.
New research by ACE for the Energy Bill Revolution campaign has found that in the last five years, 46,700 people in the UK have died due to living in a cold home. Our research used official data on Excess Winter Deaths. This is an assessment of how many more people die in the winter than at other times of year. These deaths are primarily due to illnesses brought on by the cold. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 30% of these Excess Winter Deaths are due to people living in cold homes.