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    Jon Lewes

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    Dear Andrew Warren

    Home Energy Conservation Act 1995

    Finding your blog dated last year,14.06.12 (above), and reading your point that “New targets will need to be established locally, both for overall energy improvements and especially towards fuel poverty eradication” causes us to grimace wryly..

    We are reading through all of the Further Reports March 2013 for the seven Councils in Somerset, that have been published, and so far we can see that it is not just the setting out of new targets that is necessary to revitalise action under the Act but statements of how exactly those targets are to be met that are needed.

    As the only independent Home Energy Centre in Somerset, and possibly in UK, offering free, impartial advice and guidance to the public, we know from day-to-day conversations with enquirers that the public generally is a long, long way from understanding what is required of them to get involved in energy-efficiency measures for their home. With information and guidance they well decide to act ..is it the Councils that HECA says will provide that information, and guidance ?

    We have found over the last 18 months since the Centre was opened in Ilminster, South Somerset by two of us,an environmentalist and a green accountant (myself), that some 65% of enquiries have come from homeowners moving home..ie. only when the inertia is overcome because of the house-move does the question of checking out energy-efficiency move up the householder’s agenda, and then only from the point of view of cost-savings, not CO2e savings.

    The Centre participated last year in local Green Deal consultations with the Local Authority and acted as lead-community-based group for Our Green Deal in Somerset, the LA initiative to distribute free Green Deal Assessments in the SSDC area. (Unfortunately, of course, the Green Deal’s problems with software and contracts has been perhaps more of a hindrance than a help at this early stage to encourage householders to take first/next steps with energy-efficiency measures).

    Other than having a fragile involvement with the Green Deal at the lowest level possible (Promotion) our Local Authority has not announced the actions it will be taking to meet its HECA targets other than confirming in the Further Report that the Authority will carry on with its implementation of its already-published :

    – Carbon Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
    .. “outlines how the council is proposing to reduce carbon emissions in buildings it owns and controls”
    http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/89769/carbon_strategy_9th_march_2010.pdf

    – Action Plan 2012 – 2015
    .. “seeks to encourage businesses, individuals and communities to install energy and carbon reduction measures such as improved insulation and other measures”
    http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/431402/12a.pdf

    We have found only one specific action to be undertaken by the Authority itself itemised in its Action Plan – that the Council ” will aim to improve the energy efficiency of at least 300 private sector houses per year, by April 2015″. No details are yet published as to the target list for the location of the 300 homes for Year 1, 2012. The other Actions itemised are all about liason/interreaction with other parties.

    My reason for this long Comment is to understand perhaps from your Association’s research whether most District Councils in UK have embarked on a robust energy-efficiency programme or whether all are waiting for more guidance on how to get going on complying with the “single most important item of legislation designed to help save energy”.

    Regards
    Jon Lewes

    Switch Off Fossil Fuels.Now.

    Jon Lewes, Coordinator
    localGen Home Energy Centre
    8 Ditton Street, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0BQ
    t. 01460 250986 m. 0751 8039458
    http://www.localgen.org.uk
    A Good Energy Generation Partner
    A Genesis (KEG) Participant
    localGen Ltd Reg in England 07764385

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