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NEWS

Climate Change Starts at Home campaign launched
16 April 2007


Rt. Hon. Sir Menzies ('Ming')  Campbell CBE QC

Liberal Democrat Leader Menzies Campbell has launched the Climate Change Starts at Home campaign, cementing the party’s position as the greenest of the three major parties.

Visiting a house built in the 1870 which is undergoing improvements to make it more energy efficient, Menzies Campbell unveiled bold proposals that demonstrated how upgrading Britain’s homes could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by millions of tonnes, save energy, and lead to significant cuts in energy bills. Introducing the measures outlined in the policy paper could save more carbon than is produced every year by all the cars on Britain’s roads.

The Liberal Democrats are targeting housing in the battle against climate change because it emits 27% of Britain’s carbon dioxide. This is compared to less than 5% in Sweden, which is considerably colder. If Britain had Swedish standards of energy efficiency, the average British household would save 385 a year on their energy bills.

The policy would introduce tough building regulations for new homes based on tried and tested technology from Germany. All new homes would be built to this GreenHouse standard by 2011. This standard would significantly cut fuel bills and effectively pay for itself, making homes more affordable for first time buyers.

However, since three quarters of the housing stock that will be used in 2050 has already been built, the key to meeting ambitious emissions targets will be in improving our existing homes. Under the Government’s current policy, this will take 125 years.

Highlighting the importance of the scheme, Menzies Campbell said:

“Tackling climate change requires us to take action now - the Stern Review made it clear that we simply cannot afford to wait.

“People are paying high fuel bills because their homes too easily lose energy. These proposals will help people save the environment and cut bills.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne MP reassured householders that insulation packages can really work. The Liberal Democrats would ensure that our packages deal with every aspect of energy use, are properly testable and deliver real energy cuts. Tough penalties would be enforced on contractors who fail to deliver.

‘Energy Mortgages’ would be paid for through a long-term loan secured on the property and repaid through your quarterly energy bill. Households would easily be able to pay back the cost of the loan from the substantial savings on their energy consumption.

Speaking about the benefits of ‘energy mortgages’ Chris Huhne said:

“With an ‘energy mortgage’, proven improvements will deliver real energy cuts, that will pay for themselves and save money in the long term, will be accessible to everyone.

“Building new homes to tough, rigorously enforced standards, would significantly cut fuel bills and effectively pay for itself, making homes more affordable for first time buyers.”

The Liberal Democrats realise that significant cuts in energy use can only be achieved by targeting the energy companies, who currently make more money the more energy they sell. The proposals would give energy companies an incentive to cut consumption through a cap and trade scheme. Companies will have to buy permits if they sell more than the regulatory allocation and they can sell their surplus.

You can download the Climate Change Starts at Home policy paper here.

You can sign up to back the Liberal Democrat Green Tax Switch campaign at www.greentaxswitch.com


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