23 November 2021

Glue and protest won’t insulate British homes

With nine Insulate Britain protestors jailed for defying a court injunction prohibiting them from blocking the M25, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) considers whether their campaign might have required far less escalation, had they deferred to the industries who would physically insulate Britain.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Through the National Retrofit Strategy (NRS), the Government has been working with industry to understand how construction views the strategy to insulate Britain.

Sadly, this conversation has had no public airing because the sole focus has been on protestors, not problem solvers, and retrofitters, such as NFB members. Insulate Britain have harmed their own cause by making this about them, not how we insulate Britain.”

Delivered in four phases, the NRS, which has more than 55 industry signatories, understands the costs and benefits of retrofitting Britain. It is realistic and flexible with a strong understanding that non-taxpayer funded strategies, such as retrofitting policies are a core component of inspiring innovation, reducing costs, and ensuring planning policy supports the most energy efficient works.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the NFB, said: “We have spent three months talking about the protestors and not a day about the barriers to insulating British homes. The protestors haven’t bothered to talk about ‘how’ we insulate, even when challenged on their own situations.

No mention of how you might check basic insulation levels. What role airtightness plays. Which works are easier to do. How you can check your rental properties Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). Whether your landlord needs to meet a certain EPC standard. What grants might already be available. Or the non-tax payer funded solutions, such as a Retrofit Planning Policy.

Worse still, despite referencing the National Retrofit Strategy (NRS) on their website, Insulate Britain representatives don’t draw attention to it in interviews. It therefore leaves me asking the question, do they really want to insulate Britain, or is this about drawing attention to themselves?”

The NFB wants outcomes which help meet our climate targets and these can only be achieved with deliverable solutions. The NFB recently discussed this in relation to political capital because without coherent policy positions and a skilled workforce, any money put forward by tax payers will not be optimised to its maximum potential.