Though manifesting as huge increase in energy bills, in reality the crisis we are currently experiencing is a gas crisis, highlighting the UK’s unique dependency on gas as a domestic and industrial fuel. Successive reports, institutions and organisations have highlighted the need to reduce this dependency and from day one, Carbon Co-op has been an advocate of deep, whole house retrofit as a way to reduce climate impacts, improve homes and tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. We’ve sought to demonstrate what is possible and to inform and inspire others to do the same.
It is sadly far, far too late for Government support and interventions to make an appreciable difference to the levels of retrofit delivery this winter. The time to kick start an insulation programme was 2013, when energy supplier lobbying led to reductions in funding for what was described in some newspapers as ‘the green crap’ and a subsequent 90% reduction in insulation rates. The Green Homes Grant debacle of 2020 demonstrated that the taps can’t simply be turned back on overnight and that long term commitment is required to support the development of a strong and high quality supply chain.
But it will never be too late to start. Our hope remains that Government will see the light and in the face of urgent need commit the investment of time, money and policy thinking required to put the UK on a path to domestic decarbonisation through mass scale, high quality retrofit, using well trained and resourced contractors and natural and sustainable materials.
However, we have always believed and argued that where government can’t or wont act, co-operatives can and should. So we will continue to support our members and the communities in which we work to take action, to share our knowledge, skills and expertise and to get on with the job ourselves.
Ultimately, as a Community Benefit Society we are accountable to our members and the wider community, so if you have ideas for how we should be acting and suggestions for what we should be doing to tackle this crisis then please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, we will lobby for urgent government intervention to support the most vulnerable this winter and to argue for fundamental reform to the energy supply and generation markets to make them fairer and more accountable to citizens and workers.