Homeowners could be forced to make houses more energy efficient before selling

Posted On: 
17th January 2018

Owners of energy inefficient homes could be forced to install green measures by the Government, if ministers take the advice of a select committee.

Homeowners could be forced to install energy saving measures by the Government.
Credit: 
PA images

The Committee on Climate Change wants to see the Government take a more aggressive stance in a bid to meet the UK’s climate change obligations.

In a report, the committee criticised the Government’s approach to encouraging homeowners to end energy waste, and worry it will not be enough to help voters tackle climate change. 

Theresa May to pledge £140m to tackle climate change effects on poor countries

John McDonnell: Time to include climate change effects in fiscal forecasts

Baroness Featherstone: UK is slipping dramatically behind on climate change

It wants the Government to try to give homeowners incentives to invest in better insulation, but to make it compulsory if take-up is low. 

The incentives could include low-interest-rate loans or discounts on stamp duty if a home is upgraded soon after being sold.

David Joffe, the committee’s head of carbon budgets, said that it was best to target properties being sold because they were often upgraded at that time anyway. “The least efficient properties are the ones that give the greatest problem to people living in them, in terms of being cold and damp,” he said. “It’s not just about energy cost and emissions.”

Improvements could cost between £300 for loft insulation to £14,000 for external wall insulation for homes built without cavity walls.

The report was also critical of homebuilders, accusing them of doing only the bare minimum to make new homes energy efficient.

Lord Deben, the committee’s chairman, called on housebuilders to publish the costs of heating and lighting homes as they were built.

He also criticised Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, over his expected bonus. “If Persimmon had spent the £112 million it has given to its chief executive on the 18,000 houses that it has built this last year it could have saved very significantly the energy bills of everybody who bought a house and contributed significantly to the reduction in our emissions,” he said.

The committee also urged the Government to plan 55 million trees by 2025 in a bid to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce the risk of flooding