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Retrofit insulation to a million UK homes a year, urges new alliance

Wednesday June 25th 2014

The Guardian, by Jasper Sattentau

A new coalition of 20 organisations from the construction, housing and environment sectors has called on the government to make it a national priority to retrofit a million badly insulated homes a year by 2020.

In an open letter to Lord Deighton, commercial secretary to the Treasury, the coalition argues that by this move the government would not only cut rocketing energy bills, and so reduce fuel poverty, but also help to tackle climate change and create thousands of jobs in every constituency.

It would also lead to strengthened energy security and less dependence on fossil fuels in the UK, the group says.

The organisations, led by the UK Green Building Council and including well-known environmental groups such as Greenpeace and WWF, say the UK has consistently had one of the worst records on fuel poverty in Europe, with 2.5 million households affected in 2014.

Households that suffer from fuel poverty are defined by the government as having to spend more than 10% of their combined income on energy for adequate living conditions.

Fuel poverty is caused by low household income, high energy costs and poor energy efficiency. The coalition’s scheme would mean 90% of such homes being lifted out of fuel poverty, the coalition says.