Tuesday 10 May 2011 – For immediate release
Almost two thirds (59%) of the public think the government is not doing enough to improve energy efficiency in British homes, according to latest YouGov poll results.
That is why a coalition of 60 organisations from big business to environment groups and major trade associations is calling on the government to strengthen its Energy Bill to prove it is serious about ‘being the greenest government ever.’
Public pressure is now mounting on MPs to amend the Energy Bill. The poll finds that when informed about the Energy Bill currently being debated in parliament, more than half the population (54%) want their MPs to vote for improvements to the Bill that will ground the energy efficiency programme in the need to deliver towards meeting the existing legally binding carbon emission reduction targets.
The legislation, which is currently passing through Parliament, is too weak to deliver on the government’s intentions to slash UK carbon emissions and create thousands of new ‘green’ jobs - it will not equip the UK to meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets of 34% cuts by 2020, 60% cuts by 2030 and 80% by 2050 or reduce fuel poverty, according to Stop Climate Chaos.
Almost three in five people (59%) think the government, which David Cameron publicly committed to being the ‘greenest government ever’, is not doing enough to improve energy efficiency in British homes. Two thirds of the population (65%) believe it should be doing more to make it easier and cheaper for the public to improve energy efficiency in their homes.
A significant percentage of people (69%) are concerned to some degree about the size of their home energy bills, rising to 78% amongst 45-54 year-olds - just one per cent behind retired respondents at 79%.
The research was commissioned by Stop Climate Chaos (SCC), a coalition of environmental and development charities, unions, health, faith, community and women’s groups. SCC is working with a wider coalition of 60 supporting organisations including consumer groups, trade associations, and major businesses to demand improvements to the Energy Bill so the energy efficiency programme enacted will deliver the necessary carbon reductions and tackle fuel poverty. As it currently stands, the Bill is not fit for purpose without amendments.
Colin Butfield, WWF-UK, said on behalf of SCC:
“This research sends a clear message to all MPs: your constituents want you to make this a better Energy Bill. MPs can put pressure on the government to set a clear ambition for the energy efficiency programme in the Bill by supporting the Warm Homes amendment. Citizens in their constituencies and interests covering large sections of society along with the business community are calling on MPs to support this amendment.”
Richard Diment, Director General of the Federation of Master Builders added:
“The Energy Bill could have the potential to make significant energy efficiency improvements to our homes and help lower greenhouse gas emissions, but the government must be much clearer about exactly what the Green Deal should achieve if it is to succeed.
Currently small and medium sized building firms remain unconvinced by the Green Deal. Businesses of all sizes still need to be given the confidence to prepare and invest in developing the capacity and skills required. Without a clear ambition and delivery plan the government risks having no Green Deal in 2012. It would be a huge mistake to miss this opportunity to transform our homes and offices by making them more energy efficient and greener.”
The Energy Bill, to be debated in the House of Commons on May 10, is the government’s first major opportunity to deliver on the targets contained in the Climate Change Act. At stake is the Bill’s potential to hold back domestic fuel bill increases, end fuel poverty, help reduce carbon emissions in line with the Climate Change Act, and provide tens of thousands of new ’green’ jobs.
The YouGov findings are valuable ammunition for the SCC supporters in towns and cities across the country who are urging MPs to improve the Energy Bill, as part of the Big Climate Reconnection campaign. More than 160 constituency based public or lobby meetings with MPs – including David Cameron and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne - have already taken place or are scheduled.
Key to the campaign is inclusion of the Warm Homes Amendment in the Bill. This would ensure the government’s delivers an overarching strategy for energy savings that will deliver energy efficiency improvements that will meet targets in the Climate Change Act and contribute to reducing fuel poverty.
Colin Butfield, WWF-UK, adds on behalf of SCC:
“If we are to secure our future energy supplies, reduce home energy bills, create the 100,000 promised new green jobs by 2015 and tackle climate change we need a strong Energy Bill. But curently what we have is a weak bill and a missed opportunity. Homes are responsible for 26% of all our carbon emissions and a programme to retrofit them could bring huge benefits to the UK economy. But the government has not defined the scale of ambition of this policy or the size of market it will create, making it impossible to imagine how buisness will make the upfront investment decisions needed to deliver it. Government must urgently define what they want this bill and policy to achieve.”
Sixty organisations support the Warm Homes amendment, including major household names and organisations such as Marks and Spencer, the British Retail Consortium, the Federation of Small Businesses, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid. So far over 450 MPs have been contacted by constituents about supporting the Warm Homes amendment through the SCC website.