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Community Energy Savings Programme: Lowestoft

Volume 658: debated on Tuesday 9 April 2019

The petition of residents of Lowestoft, Suffolk,

Declares that the Community Energy Savings Programme is causing us significant suffering: accruing detriments to our finances, health and wellbeing, and private and family lives; further that residents of Lowestoft particular grievance is with the standard of external wall insulation installed to certain properties as part of the Community Energy Saving Programme 2009 - 2012 (CESP); further that the CESP was a Government policy, set down in legislation, designed to improve domestic energy efficiency standards in the most deprived geographical areas across Great Britain; further notes that many vulnerable residents are having to live with the impact on our homes from the premature deterioration of the very poor installations; further notes that there is no evidence of appropriate training certification for the external wall cladding insulation and thus many residents are unable to obtain a valid guarantee/warranty which has affected the value of our homes and at worst has meant homes cannot be sold; further that the GCS Chartered Surveyors who were instructed to comment on the standard and workmanship of the external wall insulation have concluded that the external wall insulations do not meet system designer and BBA specification; further that the GCS Chartered Surveyors found the insulations were installed by MITIE Property Services who did not have approvals in place to install the system at the time; further that many partners are responsible for the failure of this programme including: MITIE Property Services, The Bright Green Lowestoft Organization, Waveney District Council, Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, Climate Energy Limited and npower; further that whilst the project was delivered by a number of partners the main contractors, MITIE, have overall responsibility for ensuring the installation is compliant to the system designer's specifications; and further that the installations were found to fall fault of numerous problems including: incorrect sealing, missing trims, faulty cladding and poor rendering.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to setup a means whereby each house be assessed by an external specialist ECO assessor and obtain redress for their individual issues, compensation for financial losses and have assurance our homes can be insured without penalties.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Peter Aldous, Official Report, 12 February 2019; Vol. 654, c. 854.]


Observations from the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, (Claire Perry):

Those who had poor installations under the Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP) should seek redress from the installer in charge of the work, in this case MITIE Property Services, which remains a functioning business.

CESP ended in 2012 and since then Government have taken big steps to change the design of policies to reduce the risk of poor installation.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) started after CESP and steps were taken to raise standards and improve consumer protection. The Government worked with the British Standards Institute to develop new standards for ECO installations. These went over and above building regulations to drive up quality and are an eligibility requirement of the scheme;

ECO requires that all solid and cavity wall insulation installations are accompanied by a guarantee—something not required under CESP.

The guarantee must: give financial assurance even if the company providing the original guarantee cannot honour it; provide sufficient coverage—at least 25 years and the replacement of the measure and any remedial work; and provide a verified quality assurance framework for the installation and the product which are independently verified.

The Government are going beyond the protections introduced under ECO. The Each Home Counts (EHC) review was commissioned in July 2015 and reported in 2016. The review has been a key driver in understanding what we need to change in the market and it identified the need for an independent, all-encompassing mark of quality that consumers can rely upon and trust.

This has led to a new Government endorsed quality scheme, being taken forward by TrustMark. The new scheme was launched last October and sets out a clear code of conduct for registered businesses delivering to households and it will be underpinned by rigorous new technical standards to tackle poor design and installation. These will be published this spring and, going forward, we plan that Government schemes such as ECO will require installers to deliver to these standards.