The UK has some of the oldest, and consequently least energy efficient homes in Europe. Improving this situation had long been a cornerstone of the Government’s Net Zero drive.
Last Wednesday, in claiming Britain was “so far ahead of every other country in the world” that it could afford to make slower, less costly progress towards the 2050 target, Rishi Sunak scaled back a range of green policies.
Alongside delays to the sales ban on new petrol and diesel cars and legal requirements to transition from gas boilers to heat pumps, the Prime Minister scrapped plans to force landlords to make energy efficiency upgrades to their properties.
As the first autumn chills set in, households up and down the country fear a repeat of last winter’s astronomical heating costs, with energy bills still expected to rise despite the expected Ofgem price cap cut.
Some areas are far better braced for the cold than others, however, as research by PlumbingNav reveals the worst-insulated neighbourhoods in the country.
The study, using the latest local-level Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), looked at the percentage of homes in each area with a C grade or above – considered the benchmark for good energy efficiency.
The Isles of Scilly, 28 miles southwest of the Cornish peninsula, fared worst of all, with just 14.1 percent of homes achieving at least a C rating.
This is almost 30 points below the England and Wales average of 42.4 percent, and over 60 points under the rate in Tower Hamlets, the most energy-efficient local authority in the country (76.1 percent).
Pendle in Lancashire came second, with just 21.8 percent of homes considered adequately energy efficient. The borough was followed by Gwynedd in the northwest of Wales (23.7 percent), Castle Point in Essex (24.8 percent) and Burnley, Lancashire (25.1 percent).
A spokesperson for PlumbingNav said: “It is striking to see the disparity in energy efficiency ratings across the UK. A poor energy efficiency rating is one of the biggest drivers in household energy bills, at a time where few can afford increased costs.”
From October, Ofgem’s energy price cap – based on a typical household’s annual usage under a fixed unit cost for gas and electricity – will fall by £151 to £1,923, the first time it has dipped below £2,000 in 18 months.
The spokesperson added: “Despite the energy price cap reduction, the cost of heating still remains cripplingly high for many, and Citizens Advice Bureau has revealed that millions of households will pay more for their energy bills than last year, due to the cost-of-living crisis leaving them with less money for household bills, and because Government subsidies have been removed.
“Homes with poor energy efficiency are likely to suffer from the highest bills this winter, and residents may find it useful to see if they qualify for a Winter Fuel Payment or other energy support.”