A councilor has spoken of his sadness that East Suffolk Council has rejected plans to provide homeowners with better access to insulation.
David Beavan, who represents Southwold, had proposed the pilot project that would have involved the council working with Warwick University to identify clusters of houses in the district where large amounts of insulation could be provided quickly, such as in terraced houses.
Earlier this month, the EADT revealed analysis by the Liberal Democrats which revealed 60,026 homes in east Suffolk, equivalent to 64% of the district’s total, had poor energy efficiency ratings, being classified in bands DG in their Energy Performance Certificates (EPC).
The research revealed that in total, families in the district would be paying £57million more in their energy bills due to the poor performance.
As part of the proposed project, the council would have arranged for community meetings, information and joint purchasing, which would have reduced costs for homes to pay for cavity wall and loft insulation, as well as boiler upgrades.
But the proposal was refused at a council meeting on Wednesday.
Mr Beavan said although homeowners could access grants for insulation through the council’s Warm Homes Healthy People scheme, this support was only available to households with a gross income of less than £30,000 a year, excluding more than half the homes in the district.
He added: “East Suffolk Council has been lucky enough to be approached by world-leading expert professors from Warwick, one of the UK’s top universities, with an offer of free support.
“They offered to identify clusters of housing where the work could be done on a number of houses for a lower cost.
“This would meet a great many of East Suffolk Council’s goals: lower energy costs for East Suffolk residents, better-insulated homes for the future and desperately-needed action against the climate emergency.”
He said the university’s analysis had shown that even with Government support through the Energy Price Guarantee, the average east Suffolk household would see an increase in bills of £1,160 annually.
He said he was “saddened” at the rejection of “this valuable opportunity to save our residents money on their energy bills, improve our country’s energy security and ultimately save our planet”.
However, Conservative councilors Richard Kerry and Steve Gallant pointed out what the council was already doing in this area – including securing a £12million bid from central government and £750,000 from Suffolk Public Sector Leaders to deliver insulation for low-income and low-energy performance households.
Mr Gallant, leader of the council, said: “I think we are already doing a really good job in respect of home insulation and the funding is there.”