Group sends statement to ministers saying plans don’t go far enough
Campaigners tackle government over Energy Bill loopholes
The government is facing a backlash from a newly formed coalition of charities and sustainability campaigners over its plans to improve the energy efficiency of private rented homes.
The 34-strong group - including Friends of the Earth, Crisis, WWF and Manchester and Islington councils - is sending a joint statement to ministers today claiming current proposals in the Energy Bill are ‘inadequate’ and contain significant loopholes.
The government has already bowed to pressure to accept an amendment to the bill that would ban the rental of homes with the lowest energy efficiency ratings, bands F and G on the energy performance certificate.
The National Landlords’ Association estimates that the proposed changes would affect 680,000 homes.
The campaigners say the plans do not go far enough and are demanding further changes when the bill returns to parliament in the autumn.
John Leech, Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, has tabled amendments to the bill that would bring forward the date at which the new rules would take effect from 2018 to 2016. These would also clarify that properties must meet band E or higher, rather than just showing some evidence of improvement.
A further demand would ensure landlords cannot evict tenants who ask for homes to be made greener.
The government has said the 2018 date fits in with the rate at which tenants in the private rented sector move home as it is easier to carry out work when tenants leave and before a new tenant moves in.
Jenny Holland, head of the parliamentary team at ACE, the association for the conservation of energy, said it was ‘irresponsible’ of the government to delay the new rules and vulnerable people would be ‘made ill, and, in some cases, die’ from continuing to live in cold homes which they cannot afford to heat.
Councils will be able to place homeless people in the private rented sector to discharge their homelessness duty under plans in the Localism Bill.
David Cox, the National Landlords Association’s policy officer, said bringing the date forward would not give landlords enough time to prepare.