Arrest the government, not Insulate Britain protesters
One activist argues that we need systemic governmental change, while Diana Jones suggests there should be a baseline standard for energy-efficient homes
Patricia Taylor suggests that Insulate Britain activists pour their energy into insulating the places where they live and work (Letters, 13 October). Among other things, I have fitted the biggest solar array in the area on my last workplace. I have eco-retrofitted my own home and given tours of it through Cambridge Carbon Footprint for more than 10 years (the most recent tour can be seen on YouTube).
The problem is urgent: at least 8,500 people will die this winter because of their leaky homes and 3.2 million British people will have to choose between heating and eating this winter. Insulating homes is a win-win, creating meaningful jobs. Draught-free homes can be kept at much lower temperatures and still be comfortable.
I’m sick of personal change; I need systemic, governmental change, now. I am too experienced to have much hope for Cop26 achieving what it needs to in reducing climate change, but while the world’s eyes are on us I’m going to bravely and desperately sit in the road with Insulate Britain.
The government should be getting arrested for failing to meet the Paris accord, not me. Instead, Boris Johnson and his friends are talking about a new coalmine in Cumbria, considering a new oilfield off Shetland, foreseeing a GBP27bn road-building programme and planning airport expansions.
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Patricia Taylor misses the point in her response to the actions of Insulate Britain protesters. She says their demand to make housing in this country less carbon-intensive and the heating of it more affordable, especially among our poorest communities, is “unlikely to happen under the current administration”. It would be possible if we all took on board Insulate Britain’s commonsense message and pressured the government to make change happen now. It seems we would rather take umbrage against inconvenience, react disrespectfully and sometimes violently to their message, and allow those in power to use this as an excuse not to act.
How are poor people, and even not so poor people, supposed to “pour their energy into insulating the places where they live and work” without major sources of funding, as austerity begins to bite again? Neither national nor local governments have insisted on a baseline standard for energy-efficient homes to which housebuilders must adhere, to this day. It will be a massive undertaking to put right, and should be put right by those who allowed this to happen despite full knowledge of the need to conserve precious energy for many decades.