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Industry leaders call for govt-backed retrofit programme

Leading industry figures have called on the government to implement a retrofit programme to boost domestic energy efficiency.A major coalition of organisations from the construction, housing and environment sectors says the government should commit to a target of retrofitting one million homes a year by 2020. They claim doing so would realise significant social and economic benefits.Signatories to the letter, which include Greenpeace, the Federation of Master Builders and the National Insulation Association, warn that the UK's homes are among the "coldest and draughtiest in Europe" and this contributes to high energy bills, fuel poverty and preventable winter deaths. They claim between £3 billion and £4 billion per year in capital investment should be made to transform the country's aging housing stock, addressing market failures and leveraging substantial private sector investment.The group of organisations has also produced a report, A housing stock fit for the future, in which they detail the economic benefits of improving domestic energy efficiency.They claim investing in this sector would create significant economic growth and double jobs in the energy efficiency sector to 260,000.At a time when energy security is high on the agenda, particularly as a result of recent events in Ukraine, the organisations point out that energy efficiency could reduce the UK's reliance on imported gas.Consumers would also see significant benefits, as efficiency measures could permanently reduce domestic fuel bills by £300 per year, lift nine out of ten homes out of fuel poverty and improve people's health and wellbeing.Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: "There's a gaping hole at the heart of the government's plan for infrastructure, and that gaping hole is the energy efficiency of our aging housing stock. Government has so far failed to recognise the huge opportunities it presents."Mr King added that it is not too late to rectify the problem and this could be done by making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority."Government spends £45 billion a year on capital infrastructure investment - our bricks and mortar deserve to be included," he said. 

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