The government needs to urgently introduce legislation for a national insulation programme to cover every UK home, a report issued by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has said.

According to the report, titled ‘Heat Energy: the Nation’s Forgotten Crisis’, the proposed legislation would declare all UK building stock as ‘national infrastructure’ and provide incentives, such as a reduction in stamp duty, for homeowners to install insulation that meets national standards. For those who cannot afford to pay, a scheme to cover the cost of work would be funded by general taxation.

The report also calls for installers of energy demand reduction measures to be trained to meet a mandatory competence registration, similar to the Gas Safe Register for gas installers.

Dr Tim Fox, lead author of the report and fellow of IMechE, said: “The UK’s housing stock is some of the most poorly insulated in the developed world, largely because of the age of much of the country’s domestic dwellings and the failure of successive governments to take the meaningful action required on energy efficiency measures.

“Poorly insulated homes cost the NHS an estimated £1.36 billion every year.

"The amount of money and fuel that is wasted on heating poorly insulated homes is appalling, and the UK is facing a future of depleting UK gas reserves. It is time for urgent action to improve energy efficiency in UK homes.

“Incentives could include schemes such as enabling sellers to offset the cost of upgrading their insulation to national standards against the stamp duty payable on the sale of the home.

“Government should also recognise the importance of the installer community in achieving its energy security and decarbonisation goals for heat provision and introduce ‘free’ training alongside a new mandatory competence registration for installers of energy efficiency and sustainable supply systems.

“It also needs to ensure that heat infrastructure, in individual buildings through to large-scale ‘district heating’ networks, is co-ordinated and strategically managed.”

According to the report, the UK’s current heat infrastructure evolved in response to the availability of abundant supplies of affordable North Sea gas but is no longer fit for purpose to meet future energy security challenges, social needs and decarbonisation aspirations.

The report’s key recommendations are:

1. Declare all UK building stock ‘national infrastructure’ and instigate a legislatively driven insulation programme.

2. Recognise the key role of the installer community and instigate a mandatory national installer ‘sustainable heat’ certification scheme.

3. Tackle the provision of larger pieces of national heat infrastructure, as well as the interconnection and integration of heat systems with other energy networks.

To read the full report please visit: