Targets to renovate all homes to make them more energy-efficient set to be written into law...
Cross-party Bill would lay out a 14-year timetable for action – as ministers consider grants or loans to help switch from gas boilers to electric heat pumps
Government targets for renovating homes to make them more energy-efficient are set to be written in to law to make it harder for ministers to soften the goals in future.
New cross-party legislation tabled in the Commons and the Lords this week lays out a 14-year timetable to ensure that nearly all homes are eligible for an “energy performance certificate” of grade C or above – which currently applies to only one in three of Britain’s dwellings.
MPs have estimated the cost of insulating homes and installing more environmentally friendly heating systems at up to £20,000 per family. However, advocates of the proposed transition argue that it will save money in the long run by reducing fuel bills.
The Government’s “heating and building strategy” has been repeatedly delayed and will not appear before the autumn. There has been disagreement over how to defray the cost of switching from a gas boiler to a heat pump, and whether to commit to replacing methane with hydrogen in the national gas network.
Industry insiders claim that heat pumps, which use electricity rather than gas to warm a home, can be purchased and installed for as little as £5,500 each. Ministers are considering whether to offer households a grant or loan to reduce this cost further.
The Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill, tabled in the Commons by Conservative MP David Amess, and in the Lords by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Foster, would mandate the Government to ensure that all privately rented homes are band C by 2028, with commercial buildings following by 2030 and all homes in band C by 2035.
It would also impose new rules on mortage lenders, which would have to make sure their portfolio met band C on average by 2030.
Officials from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) have indicated privately that they are likely to support the Bill.
A spokesman said: “We are committed to going further and faster, and have committed to consulting this year on options to improve the energy performance of homes. We will seek new powers to support these policies when parliamentary time allows.”
Lord Foster said: “For years now governments of all persuasions have made pledges to retrofit our homes to make them more energy-efficient. Different schemes have come and gone, so without targets being placed into legislation the industry will not invest in equipment and training to deliver the work needed.”
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