It may seem like just another Government consultation, but those campaigners and policy-makers who have pushed for something like the recent Heat and Energy Saving package believe that, although watered-down, this is a significant step.
The package has two key elements – the first, a ramp up of energy efficiency schemes, including street-by-street rolling programmes, and the second, a financial incentive for generating heat from renewable sources.
‘At long last Ministers appear to have woken up to the need for huge emissions cuts from our houses,’ said Andy Atkins from Friends of the Earth, although he warned that waiting until 2012 to implement the scheme was too big a delay.
Environmental think-tank Green Alliance, whose campaigners had been instrumental in pushing the early elements of the package, was more enthusiastic:
‘Green Alliance is delighted by today's proposals for a national heat strategy. We, and many others, have long pushed for this. For too long heat has been the Cinderella of energy policy, despite it being responsible for around half of the UK's emissions. The final strategy must be implemented as soon as possible, and extended to include use of the waste heat from large industrial plants,’ the group said in a statement.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist April 2009