Jablite is the UK's largest producer of EPS products for insulation and civil engineering applications

Removing one green levy from our energy bills: what will the impact really be?

Our annual winter deaths due to fuel poverty are a national disgrace. Are we about to make the situation even worse? The Government's changes to the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) could do just that
By Richard Lee

December 2013: I am of course disappointed in the Government’s lack of commitment to energy efficiency, especially given the recent poll in which 57% believed that energy efficiency should be the UK’s top infrastructure priority ahead of roads, power stations, HS2 and airports.

Our annual winter deaths due to fuel poverty are a national disgrace and a 29% increase in 2012-13 indicates the importance of action on this issue – so I do not want to water down the importance of funding energy efficiency measures.

However, I have been disappointed to see high profile figures in the insulation sector quoting statistics that seem to me to be doubtful at best.  For example – 10,000 jobs will be lost in the supply chain – this kind of irrational scare-mongering is not helpful to the debate.

Additionally, a number of commentators seem to think that solid wall insulation will virtually grind to a halt with a drop from 80,000 homes to 25,000 homes a year.

My understanding of the marketplace is rather different. I think solid wall insulation will continue; there are millions of properties owned by residential social landlords that require upgrading.

In a recent example we heard of, a local council needed to upgrade kitchens on a large estate and put in internal wall insulation at the same time. These kinds of measures make economic and social sense and are not going to disappear because of weak government.

In reality, the UK economy is still not sufficiently geared up to deliver the retrofit energy efficiency programme for solid wall properties that is needed. Recently, I heard that Havering Council has had to put on hold a 500 home retrofit external wall insulation project due to lack of installers available to do the work.

There are a number of other legislative incentives that are driving energy efficiency, for example the Allowable Solutions measures that will be available to developers from 2016, to allow for the carbon that was to be required on site, mean that a developer can retrofit nearby properties with energy efficiency measures to achieve Carbon Compliance.

The current mishmash of government policy, building regulations, carbon compliance, zero carbon targets, ECO and the Green Deal are confusing.

As a leading manufacturer of innovative insulation products, we would welcome clarity on the spectrum of regulatory and incentive measures that exist, that are being reviewed and that are being planned to deliver improvements to our energy efficiency infrastructure.

Jablite is a supporter of the Energy Bill Revolution which has a straightforward solution to funding the energy efficiency measures that, politicians from all parties and the general public, all agree are necessary – and that is to use the UK’s carbon tax revenue, expected to be around £4billion a year, for the next 15 years.  Job done.

This policy-making on the hoof, in response to promises from the Labour leader, achieves almost nothing; around £50 a year off energy bills.

It is time that politicians realised that they cannot treat the general public like idiots and started to make policy that is effective and constructive – they might even win back some of that much mourned lost credibility

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