Boiler manufacturer, Baxi, has welcomed the DECC’s newly launched Fuel Poverty Strategy, which sets out a number of tactics to address the fuel poverty crisis over the next 15 years. However, the company asserts that immediate action is still needed to stop the current situation from escalating and help the more vulnerable in society.
Constituting the first fuel poverty strategy in over a decade, the new policy is underpinned by the target for as many fuel poor homes as ‘reasonably practicable’ to achieve an energy efficiency standard of Band E by the end of the next Parliament, and a Band C by 2030.
The strategy, however, has already sparked outcry from many industry leaders stating that such objectives are unrealistic and will mean those on the lowest incomes could be left to live in the coldest, least efficient homes. This follows research which shows that over 320,000 fuel poor homes in England live in properties rated below Band E.1
Baxi’s managing director Paul Hardy comments: “The Fuel Poverty Strategy is designed to tackle the current situation – helping people install energy efficiency measures such as new heating systems and controls – by providing them with financial support and incentives, as well as putting greater responsibility on energy suppliers. This of course can only be welcome news for our industry in tackling the escalating fuel poverty situation while, in turn, helping to future-proof the UK heating infrastructure so it doesn’t happen again.”
He adds: “However, while much of the Government focus is on long-term strategy, we can’t ignore the need for immediate action. Despite living in one of the most advanced countries in the world, 9million homes in the UK are living in winter poverty and there are approximately 24,000 excess winter deaths a year.2
“It really isn’t good enough and the reality is that, in most cases, the problem could be rectified by the addition of a more efficient heating system. As an industry, we must come together to help tackle this issue by raising awareness of the benefits of efficient systems and the Government incentives which can help, such as the Green Deal and RHI. We need to ensure that, while the new strategy is still being developed, those less vulnerable in society aren’t left out in the cold.”