Cara Jenkinson, Cities Manager at Ashden, a climate solutions charity which works on progressing green skills for retrofit in the UK with local authorities and retrofit organisations, says:
“Introducing a windfall tax at this time is an ethical and financial ‘must’ and we welcome the government announcement. With the urgent need to reduce the cost-of-living crisis, this windfall tax is a no-brainer.
“But for real impact the government needs to be much bolder – the UK should be ploughing money into investments that will rapidly reduce prices for struggling families and reduce emissions for a struggling planet. Embarking on a massive nation-wide retrofit campaign that is designed to help the poorest of this country, is the second ‘must’.
“A national retrofit programme will boost local businesses, create new jobs in every corner of the country and support the government’s net-zero and levelling-up targets. Supporting retrofitting is the obvious choice – it will quickly turn cold, damp, homes with high fuel bills into warm, insulated, cheaper-to-run homes.”
Ashden work with many organisations focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency and retrofit of buildings in the UK which is where some of the most extensive, immediate and rapid decarbonisation could happen.
Mike Foster, CEO of not for profit trade association the Energy and Utilities Alliance, says:
“We welcome the announcement from the Chancellor on the grants for households that finally provide a lifeline to those struggling with the elevated cost of energy bills. This type of short term measure is a vital step in protecting the most vulnerable in our society from falling into fuel poverty as the energy market remains turbulent in the approach to another Price Cap rise in October.
“Now, the Government needs to look at the long-term protection of the British people and their financial situation in the face of rising energy costs by urgently shifting away from fossil fuel gas to hydrogen, using the world-class gas networks already underground to supply our homes and businesses. This will create more secure energy supply to homes breaking free from the blood-stained hands of President Putin, and positioning the UK as the world’s leading hydrogen economy.
“Now is not the time to consider re-wiring Britain; ripping out boilers to be replaced with £10 grand a time heat pumps would be a folly when clean gas is just around the corner. Hydrogen heating will mean people can keep their gas boilers, cookers and fires; it is just the gas that is being changed. We did the same thing in the 1960s, moving from Town Gas to natural gas, now we will move from natural gas to hydrogen. The UK will lead the way, as it did before, giving the nation energy independence and protecting our people in the process.
“Consumers will avoid major disruption to their lives, minimise the costs associated with achieving net zero, at the same time help save the planet from climate change, and keep Putin’s gas in the ground. Avoiding a cost burden on the British public and removing reliance on foreign fossil fuel supplies seems like a no brainer to the heating industry, so we call on the government to think ahead and start the wheels in motion for developing the hydrogen economy now.”
Gillian Charlesworth, CEO, Building Research Establishment (BRE), comments:
“Today’s announcement of further support for struggling households is welcome in the face of ever-increasing energy costs. Immediate financial support for the poorest households is certainly much needed, but British households also need solutions which protect them in the long term.”
“The UK has one of the oldest and most poorly insulated housing stocks in Europe, and over a third of our gas supply is currently used to heat our homes. This unnecessarily inflates demand for natural gas, leading to higher bills for households.”
“Accelerating the roll out of insulation to poorly insulated homes is a simple solution that could significantly improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. In the long term, investing in retrofit measures will translate into savings year on year, better shield households and businesses from any future energy price shock, and reduce the need for the taxpayer to intervene in the future.”