We have to insulate Britain, but M25 protests don’t make the case for it. Gaby Hinsliff. If anything was going to make me well up in public, I never imagined it would be the joys of insulation. Loft lagging does not generally make the heart sing. People do not normally get choked up over cavity wall filling. But it turns out they probably should. A few weeks ago someone showed me a film about a regeneration project to retrofit a social housing estate in Padiham, near Burnley, with green energy measures – and frankly, it would have melted a heart of stone. The houses were draughty and mouldy, with elderly storage heaters that cost a fortune but still didn’t keep people warm. One woman’s heating bills were so high she was skipping meals so that her son didn’t go without. When the housing association-turned-developer Places for People promised to install solar panels, insulation and new windows, they were met with some suspicion. If you live in social housing, you’ve seen promises come and go. But the film ended with residents marvelling at how much money they were saving every week (more than some are probably likely to lose this winter in universal credit, to put it in perspective) and how marvellous it was not to be huddled miserably under a duvet all day for warmth. Parents could now afford the occasional treat for their kids. Even the builders doing the work looked a bit emotional.
Guardian 24th Sept 2021 read more »