Today’s report from the Climate Change Committee that the UK government is missing almost all its targets is deeply worrying, says Dr Ashok Sinha, CEO at climate solutions charity Ashden.
“Instead of fuelling the climate emergency by planning to expand oil and gas production, the government should instead refocus on cutting the UK’s emissions. This includes urgently delivering programmes to make our homes more energy efficient, saving money for millions of people who are suffering badly from the cost-of-living crisis.
“The cost of the government’s inaction is being borne by families up and down the country. As well as undermining the government’s own net zero targets, it drains our wallets and leaves our homes cold in winter, and overheated in summer – that is why we must invest in energy efficient measures (as well as renewables) if we are to get back on track.
“The government should provide the powers and consistent funding that local authorities need to deliver this revolution allowing them to support innovative UK businesses tackling decarbonisation and energy efficiency such as previous Ashden Award winners Carbon Co-op which trains building contractors in retrofit, or Kensa – a UK company manufacturing and installing thousands of ground source heat pumps. Scale up of businesses like these can create thousands of good green jobs across the country.”
2021 Ashden Award Winner Carbon Co-Op, is a Manchester-based community benefit society running retrofit training for building contractors as part of its new deep retrofit service, ‘People Powered Retrofit’. It offers a range of courses and sessions as part of a holistic approach to tackling the shortfall of skilled tradespeople for retrofit, and also stimulates demand through household energy assessments and connecting participating builders with opportunities.
Ashden Award winner Kensa (also 2021) have rapidly installed ground source heat pumps across the UK using ‘shared ground loops’, which reduce the overall system cost and make the technology viable at sites with limited outdoor space. The customers are currently social housing retrofit and new-build developments, but there is significant potential for the technology and new business model to be used more widely in future to decarbonise the UK’s heating.