Opposition party has set out commitments that would ramp up domestic production of renewable power while also aiming to reduce domestic heat demand

The Labour Party would insulate 19 million UK homes if in power through a proposed ‘energy efficiency revolution’ plan. The proposals are intended to address concerns about fuel poverty and global gas prices.

MP Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate and net zero, set out the commitments earlier this month to try and curb heat demand in properties as part of a wider five-point plan to improve UK energy security.

The issue has become a major political concern with the UK set to face a significant hike in energy prices from next month and further uncertainty about the additional impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global supplies.

Mr Miliband said the party had pledged to make a majority of existing UK homes more efficient, while also ramping up domestic production of renewable power and delaying a decision to end use of nuclear plants.

The proposals to provide insulation for 19 million homes within a decade is projected to cut imports of gas by 15 per cent and reduce annuals bills by £400, according to the party.

Other specific commitments would include doubling existing onshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030 in a bid to provide renewable power and heat to an extra ten million homes. Solar power capacity is meanwhile intended to be tripled by the end of the decade under Labour’s proposals.

The opposition party’s calls were welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) as a step to address concerns about the growing costs of heating as the UK also looks to switch to lower carbon heating systems.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive said, “With energy prices set to push the cost of living into unsustainable territory for many UK households, now is the time to take action to reduce households’ vulnerability to these price increases and reduce the UK’s overall carbon emissions.”

“Local builders want to deliver green upgrades, but they require long-term certainty from government that encourages customers to upgrade their homes.”

Mr Berry added that the construction industry has in recent years been calling for a national Retrofit Strategy to ensure existing homes can be made more energy efficient.

He said, “Any future plans to make our homes greener and more energy efficient must be long-term, so that consumers and builders alike have confidence in upgrade schemes. A National Retrofit Strategy would help lower energy bills for consumers and create an economic boost for builders.”

Political pressure

Labour’s energy efficiency proposals were unveiled ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement that is expected to be delivered on 23 March in order to set out the government’s upcoming spending priorities.

Campaigners, environmental watchdogs and trade groups such as the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) have continued to call on the government to ramp up commitments to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes and support the introduction of lower carbon heat systems.

The UKGBC has called on the chancellor to use this month’s Spring Statement to announce new funding for supporting more energy efficient homes. It said this should be backed with the expansion of the previously announced Boiler Upgrade Scheme that aims to incentivise households to switch to heat pumps that can directly make use of renewable power.


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