Minister questioned over actions to make homes in Wales more energy efficient
With Wales having some of the oldest and least thermally efficient housing stock compared to the UK and Europe, North Wales MS and Chair of the Senedd’s Cross Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, Mark Isherwood, has questioned the Minister for Climate Change over the approach being taken by the Welsh Government to make homes more energy efficient.
Responding to the Minister’s statement, ‘Improving the Energy Efficiency of Welsh Homes’, in yesterday’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, Mr Isherwood said:
“I have just two questions, as Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, which have come from the Group.
“We heard reference earlier to the Equality and Social Justice Committee inquiry into fuel poverty and the Warm Homes Programme, and recommendations for the Welsh Government to ensure that the programme embeds the ‘fabric and worst-first’ approach to retrofitting, targeting the poorest households and the least efficient homes, as well as being bigger in scale and greener in its interventions, allowing for multiple measures to be installed.”
“In your previous responses, you have, I think, addressed some of those points, but how in particular will you ensure that the programme embeds the ‘fabric and worst-first’ approach in the least efficient homes?
“Secondly, as we’ve also heard, Wales has some of the oldest and least thermally efficient housing stock compared to the UK and Europe.”
“Free energy efficiency measures are being rejected by many people, as they’re seen as inflexible and incompatible with the buildings they reside in.”
“You’ve already explained in part how you will tailor energy efficiency measures to adapt to the various different types of buildings that exist in Wales, but specifically, given likely delays to the next iteration of the Warm Homes Programme, what consideration has the Welsh Government given to enabling the current ‘Nest’ scheme to make more appropriate fabric improvements to insulate qualifying fuel-poor homes, whilst also supporting them to replace inefficient heating systems, in light of the closure of ‘Arbed’ and the anticipated increase in Nest’s budget?”
The Minister, Julie James MS, said that they “are absolutely looking at a fabric-first, worst-first kind of approach”, but added that “it’s very difficult to just target one house sometimes”, so they are looking at community energy programmes.
“On Nest, I just don’t have enough money to do everything that I’d like to do to everyone’s house. So, trying to do something for a large number of people as opposed to a lot for a smaller number of people is always one of the most difficult balances that we have”, and concluded “I’m very happy to work with the committee about where to hit the right balance for all of that”.
Mr Isherwood recently wrote to the Minister with an invitation to attend a meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency.
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