Money still being wasted because of cold homes

MILLIONS OF homes are needlessly leaking cash every winter because of poor insulation, a watchdog has claimed.

The UK's housing stock is among the least energy-efficient in Europe, reports Which? Pic: Rui Vieira/PA

An aggressive new energy efficiency strategy is needed to address the situation, according to Which?

Its new report says the UK’s housing stock continues to be among Europe’s least energy-efficient despite the efforts of successive governments.

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The report, A Local Approach to Energy Efficiency, says the latest national figures from December show up to 5.4 million homes still do not have their cavity walls filled and up to 7.4 million still need their lofts fully lagged.

Besides the environmental inefficiencies and the waste of cash incurred by householders as a result of poorly insulated homes, the charity Age UK, says the matter is also a significant health issue, with the NHS spending £1.36 billion each year treating illnesses caused and exacerbated by cold homes.

The report calls for a switch to a long-term approach partly funded by a levy on energy suppliers and paid into a central pot, with funds allocated by a central administrator to local authorities for them to lead the roll-out of energy saving measures from 2017.

It wants an overhaul of the Green Deal, noting that just 399 plans have been taken out on average each month since it launched, and clear insulation targets and delivery plans extending over the next 10 years.

And it has called for greater scrutiny and oversight of the money spent from consumers’ bills on energy efficiency, saying it is not practical to expect more public funding or levies on bills to fund such measures so existing resources must be delivered more cost effectively.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? said: “With millions of homes still not insulated, energy efficiency is a collective failure of successive governments.

“The next Government must grab this issue by the scruff of the neck and commit to an aggressive energy efficiency strategy as soon as it takes power. We want to see radical improvements to the roll out, funding and take-up of energy efficiency measures so people can enjoy warmer homes, lower bills and better health.”