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Britain’s new climate plan that could make millions of homes unsellable

December 31, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 

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Last week, the government’s Climate Change Committee published its ‘Sixth Carbon Budget’ recommending what it thinks the government needs to do in order to meet its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Much comment revolved around the proposed ban on new gas boilers from 2033, after which homes would have to be heated either by electric heat pump or possibly by hydrogen boilers, should the government decide to repurpose the existing gas distribution network for hydrogen.

But there is a far bigger nasty concealed in the document that was hardly reported:  a proposal that the sale of properties be banned from 2028 unless they score at least a grade C in an energy performance certificate (EPC).

This has serious implications because millions of British homes will not reach this level and cannot be brought up to this standard at any reasonable cost. I have serious doubts as to whether an EPC energy grade means anything, given that it is just a crude estimate of how well an computer algorithm thinks it ought to perform, not a test of how it performs in practice.

Moreover, these reports seem highly sensitive to who is carrying them out – I hade two done on my home in the space of a year, one of which gave me a score of 42 out of 100 and the second, after I had replaced some windows with better-insulated ones, gave me a score of 32. The report informed me that even if I undertook all the recommendations in the EPC, which consisted of fitting solar panels and replacing the boiler, it was only going to bring me up to a score of 49 – a grade E.

In other words, I could spend over £10,000 and still I wouldn’t be allowed to sell my house and nobody would be allowed to buy it. Not only that, the Climate Change Committee recommends that mortgages shouldn’t be allowed on homes with a EPC rating of less than ‘C’ by 2033. So you, you won’t be able to sell, or to have a mortgage on your home. What are you supposed to do then?

There are nine million homes in Britain which, like mine, have solid walls. It is going to be virtually impossible to bring many of them up to a ‘C’ rating unless their walls are insulated. You can do that ‘cheaply’ by stick insulation on the inside or outside, but even so that will cost – in the case of a three bedroom home – between £7000 and £13,000, according to Which. But it is fraught with problems.    If your house wasn’t built with a damp proof course – which applies to just about any house built before the 1920s – you could be trapping in damp. More realistically, to achieve a grade ‘C’ rating you would have to undertake a complete refurbishment, stripping the property back to the bricks and starting again. For millions of homeowners, that is not an option.

Has the Climate Change Committee thought for the moment of the repercussions of its recommended policy: to make millions of homes unsaleable? These unsaleable properties would be in addition, of course, to the many thousands of recently-built homes which, although they notionally have excellent energy performance, are unsaleable thanks to flammable cladding and insulation.

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47 Comments
  1. JimW permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:17 pm

    To all intents and purposes its 2025 for rented properties, ie all new or renewed ASTs after this date.
    As the BoE has based its entire monetary policies on keeping the housing markets bouyant as the commercial banks would fail if it wasn’t, it will be interesting how this plays out, given the new CC requirements on the Bank. Something will have to give, and I doubt it will be the BoE.

  2. deejaym permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:19 pm

    given that it is just a crude estimate of how well an computer algorithm thinks it ought to perform, not a test of how it performs in practice……..

    See Neil Ferguson for further details

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 31, 2020 4:47 pm

      ‘See Neil Ferguson for further details’: Irony? 🙂

  3. Penda100 permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:21 pm

    What does it matter that lives are ruined and made miserable when you are busy saving the planet? These deniers/heretics need to get a sense of proportion.

  4. GeoffB permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:31 pm

    The law of unintended consequences refers to how economic decisions may have effects that are unexpected. Usually, this refers to an economic law which distorts consumer or producer behaviour in a way that is not expected.

    Friend “Sorry to hear your house has burnt down and you lost everything, luckily you were insured.”

    Me “That’s next week”

  5. StephenP permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:42 pm

    How would the air source heat pumps be working today with temperature below freezing and a shortage of wind, which is now providing under 4 GW, with a demand of almost 40 GW.
    I am also intrigued to know what the performance of Evs is panning out with lights, heaters and range, especially as lithium batteries apparently don’t work too well at low temperatures

  6. clive pett permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:45 pm

    This is absolutely typical of the ignorant, disjointed thinking of officials and government

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      January 1, 2021 8:44 am

      Not a STEM degree between the lot of the them.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 1, 2021 1:12 pm

      If only failure in public office was made a capital offence – that would sharpen their minds.

      • cajwbroomhill permalink
        January 1, 2021 1:34 pm

        Most of these ignorant, careless, uncaring b#ggars do not recognise failure in office nor the truth.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 31, 2020 3:52 pm

    Unintended consequences? Hardly, how else are they going to get us all crammed into their rented communal dormitory tower block units ‘own nothing be happy’ vision?

    At some point down the line expect compulsory purchase and redevelopment for failing to bring your property up to standard.

    Meanwhile, another ‘Ice Day’ for the Met Office to chalk up, here, even right on the S.Coast frost has persisted all day on cars/roofs/grass in the shade.

  8. cajwbroomhill permalink
    December 31, 2020 4:06 pm

    Everything about decarbonisation policy is bad in varying degrees but it is also completely unnecessary for the UK at least, since our output of greenhouse gases is negligible.
    So even were the almost certainly mythical CO2-climate disimprovement causal relationship in any way relevant to the Earth and its people’s, no harm would be done by ending these policies and despatching the CCActs and CCCommittee to oblivion, with gags on the members and no pockets to stash away the gains from corruption.

  9. Hotscot permalink
    December 31, 2020 4:12 pm

    Before Prof Kelly’s reports were published I did a little exercise on my own, modest, three bedroom, Victorian Alms cottage to see just how much it would cost to install a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP), appropriate radiators, solid wall insulation, double glazing, and a whole house ventilation system (essential if you seal a house up).

    The whole lot came to around £100,000. Consistent with Prof Kelly’s estimates, and around the £3Tn mark he calculates to convert every house in the UK.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t have a spare £100k lying around so, like most people I would be forced to borrow from…….The Banks.

    £3Tn of business for them would be very welcome, I’m sure.

    • December 31, 2020 6:20 pm

      To borrow £100,000 over ten years would cost me about £1,000 per month.

      My pension is about £950 per month.

      So how would that work?!

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      December 31, 2020 7:46 pm

      Your local authority will provide you with an interest free loan for life to do the work, and your property will become theirs when you die. If you refuse, they will declare your property uninhabitable (as they already can for other reasons) and subsequently seize it as a blight on the area (as they can already do for other reasons).

      You think I’m joking……..?

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        January 1, 2021 8:46 am

        Time for rope, and lamp posts.

    • Tammly permalink
      January 1, 2021 9:33 am

      I do have the odd 100k to spare and would spend it all on coal.

  10. ianprsy permalink
    December 31, 2020 4:16 pm

    Hopefully, the GWPF FOIA request: “GWPF calls on Government to publish hidden Net Zero cost data” (via newsletter) will help force the issue out into the open.

  11. December 31, 2020 5:01 pm

    When will the truth be addressed?
    That greenhouse gas climate change is a fable.

  12. markl permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:03 pm

    Like all of the so called “Net Zero” fantasies this too will dissolve when faced with reality.

  13. Aaron Halliwell permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:13 pm

    I wonder if Lord Deben’s Suffolk house is a Category C.

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      December 31, 2020 5:24 pm

      Deben’s should be Cat.”P” for parasite, Aaron.H.

  14. fretslider permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:21 pm

    I have an Edwardian house (1906). To meet all these criteria it would be easier to demolish the house and start again.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 1, 2021 1:11 pm

      But then they will declare it a ‘conservation area’, a ‘heritage area, or list the buildings.

  15. Mad Mike permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:26 pm

    I saw these proposals a few weeks ago and I started telling people about them and their consequences. Nobody believed me which is no surprise as the proposals are so far in to fairyland that they strain credulity. I don’t think even MSM will be able to resist publishing them. It’s a scare story after all.

    Happy New Year everybody and thank you Paul for your efforts this year (and every year).

  16. Mad Mike permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:32 pm

    Further thoughts. At the moment people are going along with CC as they don’t see themselves being affected much, electric cars, you still have a car, no gas cookers, well you still have a cooker etc.etc. but there comes a point when the general public will realise that their comfy life is about to be severely disrupted and this might be it. The key to it is of course that they have to have spelt out to them. Will that happen……..maybe.

    • markl permalink
      December 31, 2020 6:51 pm

      +1 Until it personally affects them people will put up with the charades.

  17. David permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:35 pm

    The suggestion that the government has a right to prevent two parties from transferring a property from one to another is against human rights as we know it.
    On the subject of CO2, The world is definitely greening up as most people will realise just by looking around them. Is there perhaps a relentless absorption of any CO2 rise and the higher levels we may see in the atmosphere are simply gases ‘in transit’ ?

  18. David permalink
    December 31, 2020 5:41 pm

    The thought of being stuck in a snowdrift for hours in an electric car on a motorway is unthinkable. Either one could die or maybe have a can of paraffin in the boot with a paraffin stove?

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      December 31, 2020 7:44 pm

      … one could die or maybe have a can of paraffin in the boot with a paraffin stove…

      Thanks for the reminder to upgrade my “Spare” box.
      For a number of years I have kept a cardboard box in my car. The box has a change of clothes, 4 l. of pure water, and enough calories to carry me through 2 days.
      I’ll throw in a few (bees wax) candles and (strike-anywhere) matches.
      I think I have upgraded the flashlights (torches) to LEDs, but that’s another of the many things one should have when traveling.
      Passengers → more food and water
      Cold → covers or clothing, and more food
      John

  19. Barrie Emmett permalink
    December 31, 2020 6:03 pm

    I hope minds will be concentrated on the vaccine, UK post Brexit and not on any further idiot schemes. But post the above euphoria I guess anything can happen. Just no way anyone can afford these ridiculous ideas. I have just ordered a collection of colour posters of Jo’s aircraft types, for a mini album for her fiftieth birthday. Fokker 50, BAE 146 200, Boeing’s 747, 757 and 787. Now designing the accompanying card. I’ve been invited out on the adjoining street for New Year drinks. No to be Bah Humbug, it’s minus 2 degrees. No incentive to drink lemonade. Barrie

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  20. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    December 31, 2020 8:07 pm

    Seems you Brits are having a personality problem.
    You spent 4 years extracting the Nation from the bureaucratic union and regain your sovereignty. Congratulations for that!
    Meanwhile, the climate cult has twisted the Nation into knots.
    This stuff about housing being just the latest nonsense.

    It occurred to me that your “betters” have classified the people as “emeriti” – in the old sense of a no-longer useful Roman solider – a bit of a burden to the rulers, so please die soon.

    Nevertheless – – 2021 is here.
    – May the road rise up to meet you.
    – May the wind be always at your back.
    – May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    . . . the rains fall soft upon your fields

    [My Grandmother came from Béal an Átha Móir (Ballinamore).]

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      December 31, 2020 9:27 pm

      I fear it won’t be long before we’re taking orders directly from the UN having merely cut out the middle man.

    • Tammly permalink
      January 1, 2021 9:40 am

      We Brits have freed ourselves from the yolk of Brussels now we have to free ourselves from the yolk of Westminster.

      • Aaron Halliwell permalink
        January 2, 2021 4:52 pm

        They really were a box of bad eggs!

      • stuart brown permalink
        January 2, 2021 6:17 pm

        Aaron – that was a fowl joke.

  21. Alan Haile permalink
    December 31, 2020 9:21 pm

    I am really scared of all the utter nonsense that comes out of the CCC. It actually terrifies me that the government seem to take notice of these nutcases who are determined to completely ruin all our lives. There has to be a way to fight back. Anybody got any ideas?

  22. December 31, 2020 9:23 pm

    I sent Alex off via sufers and glasshouse mountains
    Had his first halloumi burger!

    Sent from my iPhone

  23. Cyan permalink
    December 31, 2020 10:56 pm

    From the report, in respect of achieving EPC band C:

    Page 120: “Total investment costs are less than £10,000 per household on average in our Balanced Pathway. 63% of homes need spend no more than £1000 on retrofitting energy efficiency measures.”

    A simple calculation; if average = £10,000 and 63% = £1000 then 37% = £25,324.
    Extrapolating from this, 20% of homes will need to spend £55,000 and 10% £77,500

    Then in Table 5.1 on page 247, they give the average cost for a heat pump in 2020 of £6,415, for a pump rated at 5.4kW.

    This may be useful in a small flat but the average house will need more like 8-9kW at a cost of £10,000+

    The CCC are displaying as much honesty with energy figures as Volkswagen did with NOx emissions, the difference being that homeowners will not be able to sue the CCC for deliberately fiddling the figures.

    • Hotscot permalink
      January 1, 2021 10:49 am

      Cyan

      There’s no mention of the disruption or additional costs. e.g. to insulate walls internally would require most kitchens to be dismantled – and kitchen cabinets are not designed to be refitted. So add in the cost of a new kitchen.

      Internal insulation would also mean complete redecoration of every external wall and window and door surrounds would need to be altered. The potential for damp behind the internal insulation is immense.

      The issues involved with external cladding are at least as challenging. Much of the UK’s housing stock is Victorian red brick or sandstone. The character of these houses will be drastically altered. The wholesale alteration of entire rows of these houses would need to be co-ordinated somehow, which means planning consent. The problem is, planning departments have all been hollowed out thanks to ‘austerity’ of the last ten years or so. The workload and cost would be immense.

      Unless every house is to be turned into a sauna and running with damp, they will need some sort of whole house ventilation. To do it on the cheap would need, at least, quality heat exchanger units in each room which is getting on for several hundred quid per unit, not including the fitting and wiring. Then there’s the cost of running the units, maintaining them etc.

      Clearly, no one in government has spoken to a builder about this.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 1, 2021 1:25 pm

      VW were trying to give their customers vehicles that worked well for them since what they did to pass the tests did not make their cars worse for drivers to use. For years motorcycle manufacturers had been engineering flat spots in the power curves of their engines at the revs required by the noise tests. Hardly beneficial to the riders and because riders are a more proactive lot, many would get the flat spot tuned out given that the noise test would never be repeated. How much easier with ECUs and injection systems it is to do that and make it easy to change.

  24. Robin Guenier permalink
    January 1, 2021 10:31 am

    This proposal could well affect the housing market today. Why would anyone be willing to buy a house that might be unsellable in just a few years?

    I believe the government should state its position on this now.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 1, 2021 1:27 pm

      It should be front page news and the clown Boris should be grilled on the subject possibly connected to a lie detector given he lies as a norm. But of course we don’t have a functioning media.

  25. Robin Guenier permalink
    January 1, 2021 2:12 pm

    Although I’ve mentioned this before on NALOPKT, I think it’s worth mentioning again as it illustrates the reality of the CCC’s mindset.

    About three few weeks ago, I had an interesting exchange with Piers Forster – Professor of Physical Climate Change at Leeds U and a member of the Committee on Climate Change. I asked him this:

    Do you agree that, unless all countries that are a major source of emissions (e.g. China, Russia and India) are fully committed by at least this time next year to substantial and urgent emission cuts (as required by the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020), there’s no point in the UK (the source of less than 1% of emissions) proceeding with its expensive and potentially damaging net-zero ambition – particularly as we’ll be struggling at the same time with Covid’s aftermath and difficult Brexit problems?

    He answered by saying that ‘even if we were the only country decarbonising it would be worth it.

    https://theconversation.com/for-a-carbon-neutral-uk-the-next-five-years-are-critical-heres-what-must-happen-151708#comment_2407471

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      January 1, 2021 2:16 pm

      He needs his head examining!
      If that had already happened, he should not have been let out, even for the day!

  26. LordHater permalink
    January 2, 2021 5:47 am

    Will all the stately manors be included in this Not a single one of the Royal properties would pass.
    Are they going to shut down Buckingham palace.

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