Government should tackle cold homes, think tank urges

Think tank Policy Exchange (PX) has called on the government to prioritise home energy efficiency as a key infrastructure priority in order to reduce fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions.

As of yet, the government has declined to comment, however, its advisory body the National Infrastructure Commission said it would take the proposal under consideration.

PX argued that improving home efficiency would create more jobs; combat fuel poverty; reduce air pollution; minimise carbon emissions; cut fuel imports; benefit the balance of payments; and reduce the need to build new power stations.

Richard Howard, a spokesperson for PX, said: ”It's pretty much a no-brainer, bringing people's homes up to standard is incredibly good value for money. We don't typically think of housing as infrastructure like we think of roads and railways - but we've got to change the way we approach this: housing is critical infrastructure."

Professor Jim Watson, director of the UK Energy Research Centre, said: "For too long, there has been an assumption that infrastructure includes energy supply and energy networks, whereas the type and quantity of energy we use (and might need in future) is heavily dependent on infrastructures that use energy such as buildings, vehicles and appliances."

Christophe Frei, general secretary of the World Energy Council, said: "This is such a no-brainer. It responds to energy efficiency, addressing fuel poverty, replacing new capacity requirement - and the financing is so much easier to do because the pay-back period is so short. But it needs the policies."