Prominent Green Advocate Criticises Sunak’s Energy Efficiency Reversal

Laura Sandys, a former Conservative MP and pivotal figure in the short-lived Energy Efficiency Taskforce, has voiced her concerns over its premature dissolution.

Established in March, the Taskforce’s objective was to expedite the process of home insulation and boiler upgrades, encompassing rental properties. However, in a swift change of direction on environmental policies, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has now opted to merely “encourage” households to execute these tasks, rather than imposing a firm deadline for landlords to achieve an EPC C rating by 2028.

Upon its inception, the government had proclaimed the Taskforce’s measures would not only lead to reduced energy bills but would also aid in curbing inflation. This was part of an overarching strategy to curtail the UK’s total energy consumption by 15% from 2021 figures by 2030, encompassing both domestic and commercial establishments. The emphasis was particularly on “accelerating household insulation and boiler upgrades.”

However, the decision to abolish it has led to concerns among many who believe the government may be overlooking the significance of home energy efficiency, potentially leaving countless tenants struggling with escalating fuel costs.

Laura Sandys, who also chairs the government’s Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, expressed her confusion over the government’s stance on living expenses. In a recent tweet, she emphasised, “If people are at the heart of government agenda, energy efficiency must be the very first priority to reduce citizens’ costs, improve energy security with less energy required and cutting carbon emissions.”

She further stated that during its brief tenure, the taskforce had made significant progress, devising several vital strategies for the short, medium, and long-term. “We hope the government will adopt them but [are] disappointed the comprehensive and strategic approach might not shine through.”

In response, Energy efficiency minister, Lord Callanan, assured the taskforce that its contributions would be incorporated into the government’s ongoing initiatives.