A market-driven approach cannot decarbonise homes

The Green Party has shown support for a letter to Boris Johnson urging against a market-based retrofitting scheme, instead pushing for the Government to pursue a publicly funded program to support those unable to afford the changes.

New build house
Green World

The Green Party has backed a letter to Boris Johnson from consumer and construction industry bodies that says decarbonising homes is currently too expensive, complicated and risky.

The letter, signed by organisations such as Which?, Citizens Advice, Aldersgate Group, and the Federation of Master Builders, emphasises the potential magnitude of a retrofitting scheme, calling it a ‘once in a generation undertaking’.

At current, the group maintains, consumer protections are not fit for the pace or scale of the work needed to adapt the UK’s 29 million homes. If left to the market, the public may be put off, the letter says, by financial pressures or construction ‘horror stories’, such as poor installation, defective technology, and maintenance issues.

The Greens have supported the letter to the Prime Minister, arguing that decarbonising the UK’s housing stock should instead be carried out through a publicly funded retrofit scheme, especially for those less able to afford the changes.

Carla Denyer, Green Party spokesperson on housing and communities, said: “The Government’s market-driven approach to decarbonise homes is leaving households confused and stressed, and will not deliver results fast enough. What is needed is a publicly-funded scheme that will retrofit 10 million homes, making them warm and cheap to heat, by 2030. 

“With around 14 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from heating our homes, we cannot tackle the climate emergency without decarbonising our housing stock. And those who are fuel-poor, in vulnerable circumstances or on low incomes will need particular support. 

“We need to ensure that householders and tenants benefit rather than just private companies. This means homes will need to undergo a deep retrofit and have solar panels and other forms of renewable energy and heating installed. This way households will have warmer and more comfortable homes, cut their energy bills and benefit from generating a proportion of the energy they use.

“The Government must ensure an approach that is a win-win, for the climate and for residents.

The Government is soon expected to release its long-awaited Heat and Building Strategy, which will aim to incentivise homeowners to transition to emission-free homes by installing low carbon and renewable technologies."