Here’s a strange thing. There has been a collapse in cavity wall insulation between last year and this year. Last year, up to April 2012, about 49,000 insulations were completed. This year (up to April 2013), just over 1000 insulations were carried out. This represents, among other things the end of the CERT scheme and the beginning of Green Deal, which, so far has managed to insulate…well, virtually no houses at all. That wasn’t the intention, of course. In the Green Deal Impact Assessment of December 2012, it was envisaged that take up of cavity wall insulation would be about 830,000 with perhaps 1.2 million insulations being conducted by the early 2020s.
Quite a noble ambition but still well short of what might be needed overall since there are over 6 million cavity walls out there waiting to be insulated, 3.7million of which are considered to ‘conventionally easy’ and hence low cost to insulate (See for example the ACE ‘Dead Cert’ report of 2012).
All this isn’t that strange though. What is weird is the story of the incredible disappearing unfilled cavity walls, which have, apparently been vanishing across the countryside at an astonishing rate over the past few months.
Here’s Ed Davey, for example, responding to Luciana Berger s question about collapsing cavity wall insulations on June 6th “…there are very few cavity walls left to fill”.
So how many are the very few? Well I got a sort of answer to that when I asked the Secretary of State a similar question at Energy and Climate Change Committee. He was a bit more forthcoming: what I had to realise was that there are very few, only perhaps 700,000 unfilled cavity walls left. The rest, he said are solid wall or hard to treat properties which do not fall within the scope of the Green Deal.
Hmmm. So in December 2012, the Department is estimating that 830,000 cavities could be filled by 2015, only 130,000 more than it is conceivably possible to fill, according to the Secretary of State. It really is no wonder that the Green Deal is enabling so few cavities to be filled now if they are disappearing from view at that rate. I make it 3 million cavity walls that have mysteriously been filled between this year and the last – or 3 million and one thousand, if you add the walls that we know have actually been filled with real foam by real installers over the same period.
So an amazingly successful start to the Green Deal: three million and one thousand homes treated. All very encouraging etc., except if you don’t live on Planet Tharg. In which case, it’s all a bit depressing.