Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:23 pm on 1st May 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Antoinette Sandbach Antoinette Sandbach Conservative, Eddisbury 5:23 pm, 1st May 2019

It will come as no surprise to Ministers sitting on the Treasury Bench that I rise to speak about energy efficiency.

I was fortunate enough to go to two schools on Friday, Shocklach and Willow Wood, and both sets of pupils talked to me about the importance of the climate to them, but they also asked what we are doing about it—and that is what this debate is about. I am very pleased that the Government have brought forward their green growth strategy. There is so much positive action that the Government have taken, but I have to say that I do think we have made one mistake: removing the zero-carbon homes standard. It is wrong that we are now building homes that will need to be retrofitted; we have a lot of homes that need energy efficiency measures installed now, and I want to talk about some of the benefits we could deliver by introducing energy efficiency measures.

If £1 billion was put into bringing the energy performance certificate standard up to C we could save every family £270. We could put £270 back into their pockets and create approximately £51 billion-worth of revenue for the Exchequer as that programme rolled out annually. It would also save 25% of our energy consumption, which would be the equivalent of the output of six nuclear power stations the size of Hinkley Point C. I agree with my hon. Friend Trudy Harrison, who made the case for nuclear, but I would also argue that we absolutely need to ensure that our homes are energy efficient—not only because of the savings in electricity generation, but because the CO2 and carbon savings are estimated at about £34 billion-worth of cost and the air quality improvements are estimated at about £4.1 billion of cost.

An excellent document has been prepared by the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group and I urge the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to encourage the Chancellor to put that document into his red box to read before the spending review. We have seen how Germany has harnessed low-interest loans to generate £8.4 billion-worth of home improvements by homeowners that were virtually paid for by the VAT receipts on those sales. That was a self-financing project, which is one way to help to tackle this problem.