Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

TRYING to persuade the public to use less fuel by taxing it ever more heavily has not proved popular in recent years. But never mind, policymakers have dreamed up an alternative strategy for bullying us into fulfilling their treaty obligations on carbon emissions: to force us all to fit double-glazing, draught-excluders and generally seal our homes against the elements. Since January this year all builders have been obliged to calculate an `energy rating' on the houses they build and tell buyers how much they think it will cost per year to heat each building.

The Liberal Democrats have gone one step further, promising in their manifesto `mandatory standards' of insulation for all homes - in other words, compulsory double-glazing.

While conserving energy and reducing pollution are noble aims, there is one obvious objection: there is only a tenuous link between the amount of energy consumed by a home and the insulation standard of that home. Some people live in draughty homes and burn little energy because they like being cold; others live in hermetically sealed houses and still manage to drink fuel because they feel they can function only at subtropical temperatures. …

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