New Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho (main picture) has been encouraged to focus on driving through new EPC rules as the green debate begins to heat up.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has written to the new Secretary, calling for a policy on targeted energy efficiency measures designed to reduce emissions from housing while reducing the public health effects of cold homes. It also wants changes to rules on domestic wood burners.
CEO Dr Phil James (pictured) says the letter is a call for combined action. “With the recent publication of our Manifesto for Environmental Health 2023, we are raising the banner of environmental health higher than ever, seeking to make it a forefront concern for policymakers,” he adds. “The future of the UK’s environment and public health is intertwined, and collaborative strategies are essential.”
Appointed during the weekend reshuffle as Grant Shapp’s replacement, Coutinho is a trusted advisor of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who was previously an education minister and only became an MP in 2019.
She has green credentials, and used her maiden speech in Parliament to discuss environmental policy, hailing the UK’s status as a leader in offshore wind. She was also an active member of the Conservative Environment Network.
The government’s Energy Bill is scheduled for its final stages in the Commons tomorrow where Coutinho will be urged by net zero sceptics to scrap environmental measures, while pro-green Tories push for stronger green policies.
Earlier this summer, Housing Minister Michael Gove suggested a delay in bringing in energy efficiency plans for the PRS, citing financial pressures on landlords. He suggested the government should relax the pace of changes to EPC targets which is expected to see them forced to obtain a C grade for their properties by 2028.