Last Friday at the meeting with Ed Miliband, Secretary of State Department of Energy and Climate Change, I had the opportunity to ask a question. I asked why it is that this year, being 60, I get a Winter Fuel Allowance, but have to wait until I am 70 before I get my loft lagged. Surely this is the wrong way round, don’t you want me to reduce my energy consumption? Why encourage me to use more energy over the next 10 years? My logic diodes are giving me an error message!
Anyway despite the national government abandoning all its energy efficiency schemes, the London Development Agency is proposing to offer All London homes free insulation and energy advice. This is a major U-turn since the previous GLA Concierge system had all but been cancelled.
The announcement follows a major investigation by the London Assembly's Environment Committee, which flagged up the success of a free insulation scheme in Huddersfield that is already delivering lower bills, reduced CO2 emissions and economic activity viz. jobs.
The scheme will offer:
- "Ten easy measures" free to all London households (3m total). These measures include: hot water tank insulation, draught proofing, radiator panels, low energy lightbulbs, standby switches etc. The anticipated take up is 1.3m homes and this should generate CO2 savings of 1.4m tonnes per annum.
- Installation of more major measures in 800,000 homes (including loft and cavity wall insulation, heating controls upgrade etc) yielding a further 720,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. It is unclear at this stage whether this will also be free. The average cash saving to householders taking part in the scheme is estimated at £230 per annum.
- The scheme will be delivered via a street by street, door knocking approach as in Huddersfield.
Initial analysis and comparison with schemes outside London suggests that 2,200 additional jobs will be created as a result of the scheme and a major training programme is likely to be needed to ensure the availability of skilled labour.
It would appear that the phrase “Vote Blue, Go Green” works best when there is a Green in there to argue the case! The chairman of the Environment Committee is one Darren Johnson. No relation.