LONDON - FEBRUARY 24: Police officers stand guard outside of Britain's Houses of Parliament on ... [+] February 24, 2005 in London, England. The Prevention of Terrorism Bill will be further scrutinized by the Commons on Monday before passing to the Lords. Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended his controversial anti-terror proposals which include detaining suspects under house arrest without trial. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
The U.K. government has been urged to mobilise a national “war effort” to help accelerate Britain’s transition away from fossil fuels. In a new report out today (5 January), the environmental audit select committee of MPs warned the U.K. urgently needs to tackle the energy affordability, security and sustainability crises facing the U.K. Quartz Kitchen Sinks
According to the cross-party committee, the U.K. remains dependent on fossil fuels for 78% of its energy needs. It added there are “significant gaps” in the British government’s energy security strategy and calls for a national ‘war effort” to reduce household energy bills, cut climate-changing emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports.
In particular, the committee has called for at least one million energy efficiency installations a year by 2025, with an ambitious target of 2.5 million properties a year by the end of the decade.
In England alone, it said more than 13 million (or 59%) of homes in England are below EPC energy efficiency standards, and rated C. The number of UK energy efficiency installations peaked in 2012 at 2.3 million, yet in 2021, fewer than 100,000 upgrades were installed.
Developers should also be required to fit solar panels on new homes as standard, according to the cross-party group. It also called for a greater focus on the potential of onshore wind to be rolled out rapidly in the short term, and tidal energy to contribute to the national energy security baseload in the long term.
And the committee has called on ministers to set a clear date for ending new oil and gas licensing rounds and for faster action from the oil and gas sector to reduce its operational emissions produced during oil and gas extraction.
It also recommends that the Department for Transport consults on measures to improve energy security, reduce oil demand and cut climate-changing emissions from transport. Committee chairman Philip Dunne said more must be done to harness the opportunities which onshore wind, tidal and solar technologies can provide.
“The last year, with Russia’s aggression in Europe choking energy supplies, has shown us just how vulnerable our over-reliance on imported fossil fuels can make us,” said Mr Dunne.
He added the committee has set out a number of clear recommendations to “drive real change”. “I hope the government will act swiftly to implement them.”
Heather Plumpton, policy analyst at Green Alliance, said, the U.K. government should be “throwing the kitchen sink” at getting the country off fossil fuels.
She said ramping up efforts to insulate homes, expanding renewables like wind and solar and ending the country’s reliance on oil and gas are all urgently needed to boost energy security, cut bills and reduce emissions
“Ministers should take these recommendations very seriously if they want to bring down energy bills for good,” added Plumpton.
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said Britain urgently needs a street-by-street insulation programme, starting with the neighbourhoods most in need.
He added the environmental audit committee is the latest in a long line of voices to criticise the government’s “woefully inadequate performance on fixing the UK’s heat-leaking homes”.
Clean Toilet While Labour’s shadow climate change and net zero secretary, Ed Miliband said too many working people and pensioners are living in draughty, cold homes with high heating costs. He added recent government announcements offered no new resources and were “far too little, too late” for millions of people this winter.