M25 brought to a standstill by campaigners from Insulate Britain
During rush hour today motorway traffic on the M25 was brought to a standstill by campaigners from Insulate Britain, a new group demanding that the government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes.
Insulate Britain says today’s disruption is just the start. Actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes, some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.
Liam Norton, 36, an electrician from London said: "Since waking up to the crisis we are all in, due to the catastrophic breakdown in our climate, I have been shocked at the lack of significant action from our government.
“They need to face up to reality. It will destroy our economy and the fabric of our society. They are being incredibly reckless.
"They are betting the farm on technologies that don't exist. A stitch in time saves nine which means if we spend money now we’ll stop a catastrophe later down the line.
“It’s a no brainer. Insulating Britain will reduce emissions, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and stop our elderly dying in cold homes each winter. So stop messing about Boris and get on with the job!
“As soon as a statement is made that we can trust and is meaningful we will get off the roads”
Zoe Cohen, 51, self employed mum from Warrington added: "It's now proven beyond all doubt, humans have broken the climate with the emissions from fossil fuels.
"The world my generation, and my parents' generation was born into has gone, and it's never coming back.
The world's politicians need to be honest and accept this. They need to wake up and do what's necessary to stop the kids being on an escalator to climate hell.
"We need real action from our government to reduce emissions in this Parliament - 2050 is far too late.
"Boris needs to stop making things worse - with all their road building, airport expansion, HS2 white elephant and new oil fields - and get on with the obvious stuff like insulating the 29 million homes that need to come off fossil fuels.
"We can't get to net zero if they don't take responsibility for this, only the government can make this happen"
The action comes after a series of unprecedented floods, storms and wildfires wreaked havoc across the globe this summer and the latest UN climate report which has put the world on red-alert.
A group headed by Sir David King, ex-Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, says that there is now no carbon budget left to spend if we want to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C.
According to the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) we will not meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions without a complete decarbonisation of Britain’s homes which it says should be a national infrastructure priority.
Insulate Britain’s aims are in line with what many in the industry are calling for. Benjamin Derbyshire, a former president of the Royal Institute for British Architects and a commissioner for Historic England said: “Britain has the leakiest and poorest performing housing in Europe that contributes 20 per cent of our total climate emissions.
"We have no chance of achieving net zero carbon by 2025 unless we begin to treat housing as infrastructure and invest in it, so that like all other forms of infrastructure, it is accessible, well designed, safe to use and, most of all, environmentally sustainable.
“Instead of fiddling while Rome burns with a series of ill-thought-through programmes, reliant on private investment and debt, the government needs to invest in a major programme of deep renovation for energy efficiency with measures to support the supply chain.”
Research from thinktank Onward has suggested that between 900,000 and 1.3 million new jobs could be created in low-carbon heating and energy efficiency if the government follows the CCC’s carbon reduction recommendations.
Steve Gower, 54, unemployed, currently living in fuel poverty in Gloucester said: “For over 30 years different governments have promised to insulate and retrofit our homes.
"Over that time we could have reduced poisonous emissions escaping from our homes, created thousands of skilled, quality jobs and prevented potentially one million preventable deaths to the elderly and most vulnerable in our communities.
“Man up Johnson and get on with it.”
Fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA) has pointed out that in our last ‘normal’ winter 8,500 lives were lost because of cold and leaky homes.
Low incomes, high energy costs and poor heating and insulation all combined to leave them in conditions which were unfit to help them survive the cold weather.
Tracey Mallaghan, 45, medically retired school nurse assistant said: “In May 2019 our government declared a climate emergency. I heard nothing until October 2019 and then only because people were protesting in London and I had time to look beyond the brief news coverage.
“Since then, I've looked on in horror as our government has consistently failed to prepare us for what’s coming and has failed to get on with any of the obvious jobs that it must do to stop the crisis getting any worse.
“We are left with no choice but to demand action”
Insulate Britain’s demands for the Prime Minister were delivered by hand to No. 10 Downing Street on August 21, but so far no-one in government has responded.