The Government launched their long-awaited Heat and Energy Saving Strategy consultation today.
It was good to see CLG and DECC coming together to create a joint consultation – and indeed sharing the platform at the launch event today which I had the pleasure of chairing. Ed Miliband drew an analogy between the shift needed on home energy efficiency and the roll out of the gas network in the 1960’s and ‘70s. Hazel Blears stressed the importance of communities and Margaret Beckett talked about a ‘quiet revolution’ in the lofts of the nation – an image which I quite like and a phrase I think I'll steal!
We very much welcome the proposal for a more centrally co-ordinated approach to energy efficiency advice and measures. The current measures-based approach has been successful in delivering basic energy efficiency improvements.
However, as we move past light bulbs and loft insulation to more expensive measures, as we move from single measures to whole house solutions and as we seek to engage entire communities in a low carbon future – we will need a more co-ordinated approach.
This goes beyond policies or structures. This is about putting people at the heart of climate change and what people want is advice, finance and measures all in one place from a trusted source. A centrally co-ordinated approach would enable us to invest in bringing new technologies to market, shape green finance schemes and co-ordinate the refurbishment of homes street-by-street. We already have a network of advice centres across the UK and are well placed to deliver this.
I hope the consultation leads to concrete proposals in the summer and swift action – we have no time to lose.