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Council backs Green Party Motion supporting renters in cold, damp homes

At the Bedford Borough Council meeting on Wednesday, a Green Party motion highlighting unaffordable energy bills and cold, damp homes for private tenants was passed with cross party support. It called for pressure on the Government to restore the recently-scrapped requirement for landlords to ensure their properties’ Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)  have a minimum 'C' rating by 2028.

The latest census showed that one in five households in Bedford Borough are in private rented accommodation. And Office of National Statistics data says that domestic energy is reponsible for about  one quarter of UK carbon emissions. Meanwhile average energy bills for all households are still set to rise, as Ofgem has announced a new Energy Price Cap, with unit prices set to rise by about 5% from January.

Cllr Lucy Bywater (Castle & Newnham, Green Party) said, “At the core of our motion approved by the Council is that everybody has the right to a warm, dry home that they can afford to heat so that their home is not harming their health and wellbeing. Bedford has a lot of old, energy inefficient housing but tenants have limited power themselves to do much about this problem. We were shocked when Rishi Sunak, as part of a wider delaying and scrapping of net zero “pledges”, scrapped the requirement for EPC minimum rating of ‘C’ for rented properties. The effect of that decision will be fewer well-insulated rental homes, leading to even more unaffordable energy bills and more widespread harm to health for tenants, due to cold, damp living conditions and to mould.”

Lucy added that responsible landlords, before September's government U-turn, had been starting to make the necessary energy efficiency improvements. She said, “Good landlords know this work improves the value of their assets and makes properties more attractive to tenants, who will want to stay and will be less likely to fall into fuel poverty with bills that they just can’t afford on top of the rent. Retrofitting homes also creates local jobs. Improving energy efficiency is a win, win, win!"

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The successful motion to Bedford Borough Council can be read here: Agenda Item 18 on p. 3-4:

Imprint: Published & promoted by Adrian Spurrell, Bedford Green Party a subsidary group of Luton & Bedforshire Green Party, 1 Massey Gdns, Bedford, MK42 8JY