WWF Cymru: Plan for cosy homes would slash poverty in Wales
8 August 2012
Targeting home improvements at the poorest quality houses in Wales would slash energy bills, cut fuel poverty by 40%, reduce our impact on climate change and create thousands of jobs, according to a new report commissioned by WWF Cymru.
The conservation body commissioned the Energy Saving Trust to consider the cost and benefit of improving the worst performing houses in Wales. At present, 57% of Welsh homes – 728,000 households – are in the three worst performing categories when it comes to energy efficiency (bands E to G on a 7 point scale). These homes cost a small fortune to keep warm because they are drafty, lack decent insulation and rely on poor quality heating systems.
The report, Cutting Carbon Emissions in Welsh Homes – a twin track approach, shows that bringing these homes up to a decent standard (band D) would:
- Cut fuel poverty by 40% - benefitting 132,000 households which spend more than 10% of their income on heating
- Create 14,600 jobs – 6,300 directly (such as in the building trade and supply chain) and the remainder as a knock-on effect on the economy from the increased employment and money saved on fuel.
- Cut the housing sector’s current carbon emissions by a quarter - helping the Welsh Government achieve its aim of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions in Wales by 40% by 2020 compared with 1990
WWF is proposing that a twin-track approach be adopted. This would require the Welsh Government to provide support to the poorest homes and to work with the UK Government and Local Authorities to encourage better-off households to take advantage of the Green Deal finance scheme.
This scheme, to be launched in the autumn, will enable improvements to be carried out with no up-front costs, with the work being funded by the expected savings in home energy bills.
Alun James, Policy Officer for WWF Cymru said:
“This summer we want the Welsh Government to remember the thousands of households which face the prospect of an uncomfortable, expensive winter. This report shows that the improvements needed are affordable, practical and worthwhile. They would keep people warm, save them money, be a much-needed boost to the economy and reduce our impact on climate change.
“The Welsh Government has already done some good work on improving home energy efficiency through its Arbed scheme, but it needs to go further. A sensible increase in support for households on the lowest incomes, together with promoting the UK Green Deal to those who are better off could deliver huge benefits to the economy, society and environment.”
The report will be launched at the National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan, where WWF Cymru will be asking Eisteddfod-goers about the energy efficiency of their homes. Experts will be on hand to answer questions.