Mary calls on government to toughen up the Energy Bill
Wakefield MP and Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh joined Friends of the Earth’s green strong man ‘Energy Bill’ outside Parliament on 18 May to show her support for a tough new law to save energy and tackle climate change in homes and communities around the country.
Mary is backing Friends of the Earth’s call for key changes to the Energy Bill currently being debated in Parliament. The environmental campaigning charity wants the Government to lead a nationwide refurbishment to make sure no one lives in a cold home – and to beef up support to help councils tackle climate change in their areas.
Mary said: “The Government’s Energy Bill needs to be overhauled to make sure our homes and communities get the green refurb needed to help fight climate change. I’m backing Friends of the Earth’s call for the new law to be stronger, so councils get independent advice to help communities go green, tenants are protected from cold homes by 2016 and the Government has a plan to insulate every home.”
Friends of the Earth campaigner Liz Hutchins said: “It’s great that Mary Creagh MP has committed to backing amendments for a stronger Energy Bill. We need MPs like Mary Creagh to stand up and be counted to help fight dangerous climate change and create clean, green communities we can be proud to live in.”
The Government’s Energy Bill is being debated in Parliament and will become law this July.
Friends of the Earth is calling for the Bill to be strengthened in the following ways:
Councils and community action on climate change
The Government says councils are ‘pivotal’ to helping meet UK Climate Change Act targets to cut carbon emissions. But a nationwide step-change in the scale and pace of this local action is needed. 40 councils from all political parties, businesses including the Federation of Small Businesses and B&Q, and green groups are asking for the Energy Bill to be strengthened to:
Create clarity: Ministers should ask the independent Committee on Climate Change to advise on what councils need to do in their patch to help meet UK Climate Change Act targets
Ensure local climate action is a priority: councils should have a duty to draw up local climate change plans – showing how they will roll out green policies in line with the expert advice. This would mean decisions about the low carbon future of our communities are made locally. It would increase transparency and accountability about councils’ actions. See more at: www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/energy_bill_council_action.pdf
Warmer homes for all
There are 4.5 million households living in fuel poverty, meaning they can’t afford to properly heat their homes. The Warm Homes Amendment would ensure that Government produces a plan to insulate enough homes to end fuel poverty and meet carbon targets.
Last Tuesday [10 May] Climate Change Minister Greg Barker accepted that more needs to be done, announcing plans to take “reasonable steps” to improve the energy efficiency of homes in line with the carbon budgets, and to report annually on progress on the Green Deal. This is recognition that the Government’s initial proposals lacked ambition, but is still a long way short of the action that needed.
More protection for tenants in cold rented homes
Last Tuesday [10 May] Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced plans for a new minimum energy efficiency standard which homes rented from a landlord or lettings agency would have to meet from 2018. Friends of the Earth and 37 other organisations – including consumer rights groups, health and environment organisations, tenants’ rights groups and councils – believe this new law could be a bold and significant step forward, but important improvements are still needed. The minimum standard should not wait until 2018 to go live and tenants demanding energy efficiency measures from landlords must be given proper legal protection from eviction. The minimum standard should also be increased over time, to take even more households out of fuel poverty. And the Government should look at how it can encourage landlords to act early to help households facing fuel poverty this winter with an increased tax break for energy efficiency measures.