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Government must act over 'failing' energy policy or risk missing climate change targets, MPs warn

2 min read

The UK stands “no chance” of hitting its net zero climate change pledge unless ministers revive its “failing” energy efficiency policy, MPs have warned.

Improving energy efficiency in buildings is a key way to hit climate change commitments, eradicate fuel poverty and lower home energy bills, according to a new report from MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

While they recognised energy efficiency as the cheapest way to slash emissions, it said public investment had shrunk and house insulation measures installed under Government schemes had fallen by 95% since 2012.

MPs also said builders must be incentivised to deliver energy efficiency standards in order to succeed.

Committee chair Rachel Reeves said: “Improving energy efficiency is by far the cheapest way of cutting our emissions and must be a key plank of any credible strategy to deliver net zero by 2050.

“If the Government lacks the political will to deliver energy efficiency improvements, how can we expect it to get on with the costlier actions needed to tackle climate change? More energy efficient buildings are not only crucial for tackling climate change but are vital for lowering customers’ energy bills and lifting people out of fuel poverty.

“Despite a consensus on what needs to be done, Ministers have continued to sit on their hands and failed to deliver the policies needed to boost energy efficiency.” 

The report also called for the Government to increase the £5 million allocated to the Green Home Finance Innovation Fund to encourage more private sector initiatives in making energy efficiency improvements in households.

Ms Reeves added: “The Government needs to commit to investing in schemes to ensure all buildings are brought up to the highest energy efficiency standards.

“The Government has failed to close loopholes in regulations that allow builders to develop to outdated standards and also enabled builders to sell homes that do not meet the standards advertised.” 

The findings came days after the watchdog, Committee on Climate Change, slammed the Government’s preparation for global warming as “lagging far behind”, and told ministers to show they are serious about tackling climate change.

A Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: "Our clear ambition is for all homes to be at least EPC Band C by 2035 as part of our wider commitment to achieving net zero emissions, while also cutting home energy bills.

“To achieve this we have invested £5 million to develop green mortgages to help homeowners improve the efficiency of their properties, offered support for businesses to take action, and our dedicated scheme is improving the energy performance of up to 17,000 public buildings – including schools and hospitals.”

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