Key political figures in energy efficiency were welcomed to the National Insulation Association’s (NIA) annual conference to outline their parties’ plans for the industry.
Around 300 delegates met in Hinckley on December 4 to hear from parliamentary under secretary of state for climate change Amber Rudd; shadow energy and climate change minister Jonathan Reynolds; and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
Speaking via video, Ms. Rudd made reference to her meeting on the previous day with the chairman and chief executive of the NIA to discuss key industry issues, and that she looked forward to continuing to work with the NIA. She also thanked the industry for helping one million homes improve their energy efficiency and went on to claim that the government has tried to provide certainty to the industry with the ECO extension to 2017.
Ms. Rudd was preceded by Bryn Kewley, a campaigner for the Energy Bill Revolution, who discussed the organisation’s plans to improve two million low income properties to EPC band C by 2020, suggesting the industry’s aims remain higher than those of the government.
Jonathan Reynolds MP then took to the stage to claim that the government’s “current schemes just do not work”, and that under a Labour Parliament, energy efficiency would be included in a national infrastructure plan.
Natalie Bennett also reiterated her party’s policy that every home should be warm and comfortable to live in.
The speakers panel also included Mike Easdon, sales and marketing director of InBuild, who were headline sponsors of this year’s annual conference. He said: “The theme of this year’s conference ‘Building a sustainable future’ is key as our industry can longer exist in its current format and suffer the ups and downs of Government schemes.”
The day also included a wide range of high profile external speakers including Allen Wilen, economics director of Glenigan; Rob Pannell, managing director of the Zero Carbon Hub; Nigel Banks, group sustainability director of Keepmoat; Paul Decort of the Department for Communities and Local Government; and Richard Mellish from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Speaking of the day, Tony Hardiman, chairman of the NIA, said: “This year’s Annual Conference focused on providing our members with details of our plans to support them to maximise business opportunities in 2015 and ensure they had the most up to date information, advice and guidance on government schemes and new sectors. It also provided the opportunity to consider future opportunities with our external speakers delivering some of best informative and thought provoking information into the future for the insulation industry.”