Ed Davey has used his Ecobuild 2015 keynote address to outline the Liberal Democrats’ plans for energy efficiency – particularly in the domestic private sector – should his party remain in Parliament following the General Election.
The current secretary of state for energy and climate change unveiled the Green Homes Bill, to deliver what he called
“a green homes revolution” resulting in the delivery of ten million energy efficient homes over the next decade.
Combining a change in legislation, greater financial support from the Government and action from the energy efficiency sector, the Green Homes Bill would set a long-term target of bringing all homes up to an EPC rating of at least Band C by 2035, whatever their tenure. This measure is designed to work in conjunction with the Government’s plans currently going through Parliament to incrementally increase the EPC ratings of fuel poor homes over the next 15 years to the same level. It would also match current legislation that requires private landlords to match an EPC rating of Band E by 2018.
Mr. Davey claimed that this combination of measures would create a
“pincer movement for green affordable energy”.
The Bill would also offer a ten year council tax reduction of at least œ100 to any homeowner increasing the EPC rating of their home by two bands, as well as a ?feed-out tariff’ for solid wall insulation.
Addressing the relative failure of the Green Deal – saying that it
“hasn’t gone as planned or as hoped for” – Mr. Davey would reform the Green Deal finance system to allow for wider investment opportunities and increased borrowing.
A Liberal Democrat Government would also reclassify energy efficiency policy as infrastructure so that it could benefit from the increased spending in this area of Government activity. Mr. Davey claims this would “end once and for all the institutional bias” that he believes energy efficiency investment suffers from.
Finally, the Green Homes Bill proposes that once the party ?balances the books’ – which Mr. Davey expects to be around 2018/19 – an extra œ2bn per year will be put into a major investment programme of domestic energy efficiency.
Speaking on the first day of Ecobuild on March 3, Mr. Davey said:
“This will be nothing less than a green homes revolution, delivering 10m energy efficient homes over the next decade through ambitious targets and generous incentives [to encourage] people to make their homes warmer, cheaper and greener.
“I am convinced that without the ambition I have set out today (March 3), we cannot hope to bring about a warmer, cleaner, greener Britain that we all seek.”
However, speaking at a political debate that followed Mr. Davey’s speech, Baroness Bryony Worthington of the Labour Party – whose policies align closely with the principles of the Liberal Democrats – questioned the competency of Lib Dem policy delivery and claimed the Labour Party had a better track-record in this area.
Additionally, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett claimed that policy creation itself is at fault within the current Government. She said:
“We do have a huge problem with the quality of policy-making in this country, and the way new policies are dreamed up and the way they flip flop all over the place, like with the Green Deal.”