29 May 12

Think Tank calls for London Boroughs to act on energy efficiency

A new report published today by Future of London warns that the capital faces a big challenge to make the most of the Government’s new approach to improving energy efficiency through the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programmes.

Even with energy suppliers’ best endeavours, London receives a smaller percentage of funding from the current programme providing support for energy efficiency, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, compared with the rest of the UK.

Research by Future of London identified a number of reasons explaining why the installation of energy efficiency measures is more difficult and more costly in London, which is why energy suppliers have found it more challenging. These include:

- The increased cost of parking and the congestion charge in London;
- The particular characteristics of the London housing stock with a high proportion of solid wall properties and large blocks of flats that are harder to insulate;
- The lack of accredited suppliers and installers within the M25;
- And the increased difficulty with planning processes in London owing to the high volume of properties in conservation areas, and the need for external wall insulation on solid wall properties.

The report, sponsored by EDF Energy, argues that London Boroughs can act to tackle these barriers. Potential policy measures could include a streamlined process to overcome the red tape that is often a barrier to the installation of energy efficiency measures. This includes removing the requirement to gain local authorities’ permission before you can install some measures, such as external solid wall insulation.

Future of London Director, Ben Harrison said: ‘Energy efficiency measures such as home insulation or improved heating systems are vital to creating warmer, more comfortable homes, that cut carbon emissions, energy bills and costs to the NHS.’

By using the range of policy options available to boost the take up and implementation of energy efficiency improvements under the Green Deal and ECO, London boroughs can make progress towards carbon reduction commitments, alleviating fuel poverty and improving health and wellbeing in their areas.’

Angus Wilby, Head of Energy Services at EDF Energy, said: “Energy efficiency measures can provide householders with significant and permanent benefits, in terms of helping to save money and carbon, particularly for vulnerable consumers.

“London is a key area and we support recommendations that would make it easier for companies such as EDF Energy to carry out measures to as many properties as possible. We do this by supporting schemes such as the London Warm Zone which has delivered energy efficiency measures to over 57,000 homes in London.”

The report also emphasises the critical role London boroughs will play in delivering the forthcoming Green Deal, and recommends that they play an active role in marketing the scheme.

Ways in which boroughs could encourage consumer demand for the Green Deal include:

- Promoting the scheme through council media and public-facing staff such as social workers or housing officers;
- Using data from tax records, planning information and previous energy efficiency schemes to identify properties that could benefit from the Green Deal;
- Working with faith groups, tenants and residents associations and other community groups to promote the Green Deal and energy efficiency.

Notes to Editors

Copies of the report are available to download from www.futureoflondon.org.uk

The Energy Company Obligation is a new government mandated subsidy programme that requires major energy suppliers to fund home energy efficiency improvements worth an estimated £1.3 billion a year.

The Green Deal is the government’s flagship policy for cutting carbon emissions, allowing households to install energy efficiency measures at no upfront costs.

For full details on the two schemes please see the full briefing via http://ww.futureoflondon.org.uk.

For further information, to see an embargoed copy of the paper, or to request an interview, please contact Joanna Wilson, Head of Programmes and Policy at Future of London on 020 7380 4551 / joanna@futureoflondon.org.uk.

Future of London is an independent, not-for-profit forum and policy unit focused on the challenges facing urban regeneration, housing and economic development practitioners in the Capital.

The report was kindly sponsored by EDF Energy: http://www.edfenergy.com