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Thermal Insulation

Volume 892: debated on Monday 12 May 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what help his Department is giving to encourage home owners to insulate their houses against heat loss.

An important part of the summer "Save It" campaign which my right hon. Friend recently launched is devoted to encouraging home owners to install effective thermal insulation and advising them on how to do so. The Department's leaflet "Energy Saving in the Home" includes advice on insulation and lists further sources of information.

In view of the large body of research which now shows that cavity-fill insulation is one of the most effective ways of preventing heat loss, will my hon. Friend consider the possibility of offering some form of financial incentive to encourage this form of insulation and will he ensure that the object is not frustrated by the actions of some local authorities in the over-zealous application of the building regulations?

The building regulations are primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. I understand that he has recently sent out a circular to local authorities about this matter. The general gist of it is that although cavity filling is very often a suitable method of thermal insulation, it can cause trouble in some circumstances. Reference is made in the circular, however, to the circumstances in which the regulations can be relaxed.

What help, support or encouragement is the Minister able to offer to home owners who believed the "Poor Cold Fred" advertising campaign and fitted night storage heaters in their homes? Does he have any word of support for them, to insulate them against the electricity boards' unfair treatment?

The hon. Lady has a Question later on the Order Paper specifically about that matter. On the general question of financial savings, if consumers follow the recommendations in the "Save It" campaign they will receive financial benefit by carrying out those recommendations. At present the Government believe them to be a sufficient incentive.