Department of Energy and Climate Change
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UK public backs the need for a 'Great British Refurb.'

UK public backs the need for a 'Great British Refurb.'

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE News Release (Reference: 2009/045) issued by COI News Distribution Service on 20 April 2009

New research published today (April 20) reveals there is strong support among the UK public, at deliberative research events, in favour of ambitious Government action to decarbonise the nation's housing stock. The research, released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), comes ahead of the Chancellor setting out the caps for the UK's first 3 carbon budgets.

Under the UK Government's 'Great British Refurb' plans, at least seven million homes will have been offered 'whole-house' upgrades with energy efficiency and micro-generation technologies by 2020, and every home by 2030 - virtually eliminating carbon emissions from our homes. The changes will also help keep consumers save money on their energy bills.

Research conducted by Ipsos MORI found householders are willing to play their part in tackling climate change and decarbonising our energy supply. As part of the 'Big Energy Shift' engagement process, householders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were asked for their opinions and ideas on the challenges facing us - with the results forming part of the Government's long-term Heat and Energy Saving Strategy and Renewable Energy Strategy.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

"We spoke to citizens around the nation and found that there is a strong desire for Government action. People are enthusiastic and positive about the need for better energy efficiency in our homes and communities. They understand that the twin threats of climate change and security of supply means we have to get serious about developing alternative, low-carbon sources of energy.

"The Government wants to make these changes as simple and affordable as possible for householders - and we want people to have a say in the process. That's why we've been holding householder consultations with ordinary citizens coming together to discuss the challenges we face, look at examples of energy efficiency and micro-generation in nearby homes in their neighbourhood, and come up with ideas and suggestions for Government to follow.

"Today, we're bringing together Big Energy Shift participants from across the country to share their experience and ideas, and to tell me what they think the Government needs to be doing in order to encourage everyone to play their part in the fight. We're listening to what people think and responding to their suggestions."

Participants from nine communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland met together over the Spring for a series of deliberative discussions facilitated by Ipsos MORI. The project was commissioned and supported by DECC, the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and the Welsh Assembly Government, and funded by Sciencewise. The aim was to establish the basis on which the public would be prepared to take action to install and benefit from renewable energy generation and saving measures.

Participants were asked for their opinions on the types of household technologies involved in the 'Great British Refurb' (such as heat pumps, smart meters and solid wall insulation), what would motivate them to make changes to their homes, and what help the Government should be providing. They were also asked for views on large-scale technologies such as wind farms and district heating.

The initial findings by Ipsos MORI, released today, show that:

* Householders are concerned about climate change and energy security/affordability - and recognise that we can't rely on a 'business as usual' approach.

* Householders are enthusiastic and positive about the concept of a 'Great British Refurb' - increased energy efficiency, whole-house eco-makeovers, and the idea of generating their own energy through microrenewables.

* People want strong leadership from Government, with set goals and targets, and a clear explanation of what is needed from individuals, communities and business.

* Individuals need help with the up-front costs of decarbonising their homes through loans and grants - and they want fair targets which take into account the diversity of the UK housing stock.

* Opposition to large-scale renewable energy projects such as wind farms is significantly reduced once people become more aware of the energy and climate change challenges facing the country.

More information and a copy of the report is available at http://www.bigenergyshift.org.uk. Full findings will be released in the coming weeks, following today's final event.

Notes To Editors:

1. The 'Great British Refurb.'

In February 2009 the Government set out the short, medium and long-term ambitions for dramatically reducing the emissions and reducing fuel bills of the UK's homes and buildings by 2050.

2. In summary, we aim to:

* Have provided the capacity to deliver comprehensive, whole-house solutions to 400,000 homes a year by 2015. This includes offering complete insulation measures, access to low-carbon heat and power, community/district heating and options for microgeneration.

* By 2020, have offered the delivery of whole-house solutions to approximately 7 million homes across the UK.

* In 2020, have cut our household emissions by 33% of 2006 levels - saving up to 50MtCO2 a year.

* By 2030 have made available cost effective, energy efficiency measures to ALL households.

* By 2050, be near to zero emissions from households and business premises in order to us to help achieve the overall UK goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels.

3. The event

The Secretary of State, Ed Miliband, will be listening to the findings from the citizens forums at the final event today (April 20th) and responding to questions from participants.

The event brings together representatives from each of the forums, with external guests and policy officials. The aim of the event is to:

Listen to the emerging findings from across all the forums. Examine what this means if we are to get mass uptake and support for the big energy shift, at a national or cultural level. To 'troubleshoot' these ideas, thinking about how this might work on the ground.

The event will be held at The Conference Office, Church House Conference Centre, Dean's Yard, Westminster SW1P 3NZ.

4. Technical note

Deliberative research was carried out in 9 locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in February and March 2009. In each location approximately 30 members of the general public each attended 2 day long research events and also completed tasks in between. This research is not statistically valid and does not involve a representative sample of the general public. Rather it shows the depth and strength of people's views and how they change in the course of discussion.

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