Bath MP, Don Foster has welcomed Liberal Democrat plans to introduce a new Green Homes Bill in the next Parliament to improve energy efficiency and promote renewable heat across the UK.
In just two years more than one million homes have been made more energy efficiency thanks to the Energy Companies Obligation and the Green Deal, in addition to regulations to ban landlords from renting out energy inefficient homes from April 2018 and an ambitious new Fuel Poverty Strategy.
Commenting, Don said: “We need to ensure more people in Bath benefit from permanently warmer homes and cheaper energy bills. Through ambitious targets and generous incentives for people who carry out work we can make homes warmer, cheaper and greener.”
Don, who was Minister for Communities and Local Government in 2013 added: “I was responsible for the change in Building Regulations to improve home insulation for new build houses. This was a solid start but I want us to go further. A Green Homes revolution would deliver 10 million energy efficient homes by 2025.”
The new Bill would ensure these achievements are built on, incentivising people to insulate their homes by offering at least £100 each year off your Council Tax for 10 years, when you significantly upgrade the energy efficiency of your home. The Bill will also reform the Green Deal ‘pay as you save’ scheme into a new ‘Green Homes Loan Scheme’ which would extend the current scheme to include renewable heat and electricity
Green campaigner and Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley said: “Lib Dems in Government have a proud record of improving the nation’s leaky housing. Energy efficiency is the most important fuel we didn’t know we had and insulating millions of homes will significantly improve the cost of living and quality of life of people here in Bath and across the UK.”
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Don Foster, MP for Bath, has welcomed the announcement by Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, that Bath is to receive over £3.5 million to fund cycling projects in the city.
This is part of a larger £115 funding package for cycling projects across the UK. The money will be split between eight major cities, Bath being included as part of the Bristol funding, with each using the money to improve the safety and accessibility of their cycle routes.
On the news, Don commented: “Cycling has really taken off in the last decade in the UK and this government has made it clear that it will support its growth. It is great that Bath will benefit from this.”
The funding will help projects in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Oxford. Full details can be found here.
In Bath access to the Bath Riverside Enterprise Area and the city centre will be improved with ambitious schemes building on the existing network. The Bath proposal will also improve the important NCN4 cycle route running east-west through the city and linking it with Bristol and Wiltshire
The popular Railway Path and Two Tunnels routes converge close to either side of the WindsorBridge in the Bath Enterprise Area. This proposal will provide a new crossing of the River Avon for pedestrians and cyclists, linking both of these important cycle routes plus a new east-west off-road route to be constructed through the Bath Riverside development by reopening the Locksbrook (River Avon) RailwayBridge.
The scheme also includes plans to widen and strengthen an existing pedestrian bridge to enable access for cyclists across the River Avon from the south into Bath Spa Station. This will link new cycling infrastructure, currently being constructed in the Widcombe area of Bath with Bath Spa Station and the city centre.
The NCN4 along the Kennet & Avon Canal Tow Path will be upgraded to improve cycling access from the east of Bath and a new cycle link across the River Avon will be introduced, linking into the Canal Tow Path to maximise its use. This will lead to an improvement in road safety, a reduction in congestion and improve air quality in Bath’s Air Quality Improvement Area.
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley added: “As a keen cyclist myself I am delighted by the news that cycling projects in Bath will be receiving further help from the government. Boosting cycling is key to boosting a healthier lifestyle, reducing pollution and easing congestion.”
In government, the Liberal Democrats have worked to boost cycling infrastructure. Following Nick’s announcement last year of £100m for improving cyclist and pedestrian access along key roads in Britain, the government’s total investment in cycling was brought up to £588m.
Earlier this week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey MP, announced the results of the UK’s first green energy auction which was designed to reward those companies who could offer to produce green power at the lowest cost.
The ‘reverse auction’ allowed generators of green power to bid against each other for contracts in order to drive the price down. This innovative approach to market competition means that the schemes will be built for £110 million a year less than expected. Ed announced that contracts have been offered to 27 renewable energy schemes that will allow for more clean energy at lower costs – a multifaceted positive for the consumer.
Commenting, Don Foster MP said: “The success of the auction is further testament to the hard work of the Lib Dems in reforming the UK’s energy system. The development of Britain’s first Community Energy Strategy allowed BANES Council to invest in the Wilmington Farm Solar Array and I believe Ed’s approach to this ‘reverse auction’ will have a further positive impact on our local and regional economy.”
The renewable energy schemes that won the contracts will produce enough energy to power 1.4 million homes – comparable to the number of households in Wales – and save the equivalent carbon emissions of taking 2 million cars off the road. If built, these projects will not just cut the cost of renewable electricity, but also reduce energy dependency and support thousands of green jobs.
The Lib Dems have worked hard to keep environmental issues at the top of the agenda in Government. The results of the auction restate the Lib Dems long-standing beliefs that you cannot create a stronger economy for the long-term without creating a greener, more sustainable economy too.