Chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged to help fund the insulation of two million UK homes by 2008 in an attempt to slash the country’s carbon emissions.
In a speech to environmental org-anisation The Green Alliance, the chancellor outlined his ambition to make every British home carbon- neutral over the next decade, wherever it is practical to do so.
Brown believes that informing consumers about eco-friendly measures will create market demand for energy-efficient homes, thus transforming the way energy is used.
He predicts new markets will open up as a result, with banks and societies creating green mortgages to help fi-nance improvements to the energy ratings of their customers’ homes.
The move should also boost energy- efficient homes’ market value.
Brown says: “Just as today nobody wishes to purchase an inefficient fridge, so in the same way I believe people will no longer wish to buy energy-inefficient homes.”
The government plans to increase the number of homes cost-effectively insulated every year, with financial help being made available for all and installation being free for people on low incomes.
By next year, it aims to have insulated two million homes. And over the next 10 years the government plans to ensure another eight million properties are treated, saving two million tonnes of carbon every year and cutting an average of £160 from domestic energy bills.
Brown also revealed that the UK will be the first European country to phase out high energy light bulbs from almost all domestic uses by 2011, saving a further 1.2 million tonnes of carbon and shaving another £30 off average bills.
But George Osbourne, the Conservative shadow chancellor, says: “Gordon Brown’s speech proves that the only thing about him that’s green is the recycling of his policies.
“He started announcing insulation schemes 12 years ago.”
Brown made his speech ahead of the draft publication of the Climate Change Bill which will set out a series of targets for reducing national carbon dioxide emissions.
The bill aims to make legally binding the UK’s targets for a 26% to 32% cut in emissions by 2020 and a 60% reduction by 2050.