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The Welsh Government has launched the ‘Energy Efficiency in Wales’ strategy, which aims to play a major role in both addressing energy issues and driving economic growth by supporting green jobs and skills throughout the country.
The recently published document sets out the increasing need to: recognise the benefits of energy efficiency and take action to reduce pressures on consumer bills; tackle fuel poverty; support the development of a sustainable energy efficiency supply chain; and improve the energy efficiency of housing stock.
The strategy also outlines how increasing energy efficiency will make Wales a more prosperous nation by creating new jobs, skills and a flourishing supply chain. It states that for every £1m spent on energy efficiency, 23 jobs are directly supported in the energy efficiency industry.
In response to the strategy, Plumb Center is urging officials to work alongside the heating and plumbing industry to create more consistency in the market. The merchant says it has played a role in representing installers in the strategy and believes that successful delivery will depend on the Welsh Government encouraging its UK counterparts to stop altering targets and schemes that disrupt the market.
Tim Pollard, Head of Sustainability at Plumb Center, comments: “The recent changes announced in the Summer Budget by Chancellor George Osborne have led once again to a crisis in confidence in the market and a significant drop in demand for more energy efficient heating solutions. While we welcome any initiatives that promote a more sustainable future, we maintain that the market is dependent on stability, and with the rising costs of training and accreditation we must ensure installers can be confident in investing in the future.”
The new strategy also outlines a need for improved information on the value of energy efficiency, the relative benefits of different measures, and the support available. The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) points out that figures from DCLG show that 30% of Welsh EPCs since 2008 have been Bands E,F and G, highlighting the need to improve energy efficiency across the Welsh housing stock.
Stewart Clements, Director of the HHIC, says: “The strategy recognises that ‘one size will not fit all’ and that different groups will require different approaches. It also has the provision to allow a range of financial support mechanisms to be developed, which I believe will help ensure its success.
“The strategy goes beyond seeing energy efficiency as a tool for reducing bills and energy use and looks at the negative impact living in a cold home can have on health and wellbeing. Supporting people to install appropriate energy efficiency measures will improve living conditions and quality of life. A secondary benefit of will reduce costs to the NHS on repeatedly treating individuals affected by living in the cold.
“As an industry we welcome the opportunity to work more closely with the Welsh Government in taking their strategy, implementing it and making the benefits a reality for the Welsh people.”