East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, and his colleague Alderman Noel Williams, have called for considerable investment in energy efficiency in Northern Ireland to improve living standards, protect jobs and skills, as well as the environment.
Mr Dickson commented: “This week the UK Government announced £3billion for energy efficiency projects in England. £2billion of this is to be spent on grants to households to improve their energy efficiency, with the remainder to be spent on improving the efficiency of public buildings and researching how to improve the energy efficiency of public housing stock.
“Unfortunately, our housing stock is some of the most energy inefficient in Europe, but now is the time to change that for good. Too many people live in cold and damp homes and with support we can improve the wellbeing of people, and reduce energy consumption allowing us to protect the environment and meet climate change goals. Furthermore, investment in energy efficiency will mean green employment opportunities, helping us to develop the sector, and maintain and build skills.”
Alliance Councillor Noel Williams and former Head of the Energy Saving Trust in Northern Ireland said: “As this matter is devolved, the Executive will need to decide how to spend additional money allocated to Northern Ireland, and tailor it to local needs, but it is clear our housing needs investment, and planning across Departments needs to start now. I know from my previous work in the energy sector that if we were to maximise energy efficiency across the entire Northern Ireland domestic housing stock, it would drive down energy use by a massive 30%. That alone would be a huge step towards achieving the target of Net Carbon Zero by 2050. Moreover, it really is time for a ‘New Green Deal’ to properly embraced in Northern Ireland”