London ‘lagging behind’ on home insulation – Energy Saving Trust

The capital has seen the lowest proportion of homes made more energy efficient under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) scheme, with just 4% of the city’s three million homes receiving help from power companies for such measures.

Under the Cert scheme, energy firms are obliged to help people insulate their homes, installing measures which the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) says can save households more than £100 a year on their bills.

Over the past three years to March 2011, some 2.6 million homes in England, Wales and Scotland have received help under the programme – the costs of which are passed on to consumers.

The Government has toughened up the target, demanding that an extra 3.5 million homes are made more energy efficient by the end of 2012 in a bid to ramp up action on greening the country’s housing stock.

But there is a wide disparity between regions as to how many homes have received help so far, with some local authorities pursuing an active policy of insulating homes with the help of power suppliers or benefiting from companies going to where the work is cheapest.

Other areas are faced with a high proportion of properties which are not suitable for standard loft and cavity wall insulation, or have large numbers of new homes which do not need more energy efficiency measures.

Today’s figures follow data released in June which showed that nearly half of Britain’s 26 million homes do not have adequate insulation.

The latest statistics show that Wales is leading the way in the three-year scheme, with more than 13% of its domestic properties insulated, closely followed by the North East and North West regions.

On a local authority basis, Birmingham installed the largest number of insulation measures in the past year to March 2011, with more than 12,000, followed by Leeds, Bradford, Fife and Wiltshire.

The top five performing councils over the past three years in terms of the percentage of homes insulated were Kirklees, where a quarter of households have received insulation, Isle of Anglesey, Carmarthenshire, South Ribble and Wyre.

The five local authorities with the lowest percentage of the housing stock treated over the past year are all in London: the City of London; Westminster; Kensington and Chelsea; Hackney and Hammersmith and Fulham.

But today London Mayor Boris Johnson announced help for energy efficiency makeovers for thousands of homes across the capital.

The first boroughs to receive help under the RE:NEW programme will be Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Lewisham and Waltham Forest.

The scheme will provide 55,000 homes with a range of measures from low-energy lightbulbs to radiator panels and loft and cavity wall insulation by May 2012 – which will be free to those on benefits and subsidised in other households.

Mr Johnson said: "Cutting energy waste at a time of rising costs makes good economic sense and it benefits the environment by reducing CO2."

Today’s figures on how much loft and cavity wall insulation was professionally installed under the Government’s Cert requirements up to March 31, 2011, were published by the Energy Saving Trust.

Labour Assembly Member Murad Qureshi criticised the Mayor’s energy efficiency programme, saying it had been scaled back by nearly three quarters from original plans to treat 200,000 homes.

In the wake of the regional and local figures for insulation, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "With energy prices ramping up, people want to know how they can keep their bills down.

"As well as shopping around for the best energy deal, insulating your home can also save you money straight away.

"We’ve told energy companies to do far more to help consumers cut their bills and, while these figures show a mixed picture across Britain, they also show that millions of homes are already benefiting.

"For those who haven’t yet insulated their home, I’d really recommend them to pick up the phone, call the Energy Saving Trust and check out the help available to cut bills."

He added that from next year the Government would be launching its flagship Green Deal, which will pay for the upfront costs of making homes more energy-efficient and allow householders to repay the money through savings on bills.

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