By Joshua Robinson –
Local organisations and residents took part in the Day of Action for Warm Homes to demand urgent action to lower energy bills and slash emissions.
People from across Kirklees came together on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th November to demand solutions that will lower energy bills permanently and ensure no one goes cold in winter, as part of a day of action in the fight for warm homes that don’t harm the earth.
Alongside Huddersfield Friends of the Earth, are several local organisations (including the Welcome Centre, Huddersfield Trades Union Council and Huddersfield Hindu Temple) adding their support to calls for the rapid roll-out of home insulation across Huddersfield & Kirklees, and an energy system powered by cheap renewable sources.
These are the central demands of the United for Warm Homes campaign launched by Friends of the Earth last year, as well as additional financial support for those struggling most to heat their homes.
As part of the day of action, campaigners undertook a tour of all 4 local MPs’ offices with a community patchwork quilt to symbolise the pressing need to deliver on warm homes across Kirklees. The quilt, created by Threads of Survival and Woven in Kirklees, was used as a centrepiece to call on Local MPs to back a council-led, street-by-street insulation programme across the UK.
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth has over 750 signatures targeting local MPs and is continuing to gather signatures at street stalls and events across Kirklees. The group was collecting more petition signatures at the Eco-Fest event held at Skelmanthorpe Methodist Church on Saturday 18th November.
Want the latest news in Kirklees sent directly to your phone? Join the KLTV WhatsApp Community today!
Chayley Collis, Coordinator of Huddersfield Friends of the Earth, said: “Nearly two years since energy prices first began sky-rocketing, millions of people across the country are headed for yet another difficult winter, as bills remain staggeringly high.”
“Although we had the innovative Warm Zone insulation scheme in Kirklees about 15 years ago, we now urgently need the national Government to step up to fund additional programmes in our region and across the UK.”
Across the Kirklees district there are estimated to be 111 fuel poverty hotspots, neighbourhoods where incomes are low but energy bills are higher than average, according to an analysis by Friends of the Earth. The organisation has created an interactive map which identifies fuel poverty hotspots across England and Wales.
At the same time, there are an estimated 118,197 homes with poor insulation locally in the Kirklees area, those with an energy performance rating of D or lower, making them inefficient and expensive to heat. By bringing the worst rated homes up to standard, and prioritising action in the areas that need it most, households could save as much as £720 annually on their bills.
Louise Barker at Huddersfield Friends of the Earth, said: “Nearly two years down the road, we’re still no closer to addressing the root causes of our sky-high bills – our heat-leaking homes and reliance on costly gas. This is a travesty for those who have already come through one incredibly difficult winter, and are facing down another.”
“Everyone deserves to live in a warm, comfortable home and have their basic needs met. That’s why we must see the rapid roll out of a street-by-street insulation programme to bring down bills for once and for all. So many others support these vital measures, as we’ve demonstrated through our growing local petition to MPs and today’s tour of our local MPs today. We’re pleased that Barry Sheerman MP has already got behind our cause and it was great to meet Kim Leadbeater MP to discuss the campaign.”
Kiran Bali MBE of the Hindu Society of Kirklees & Calderdale, said: “Insulating homes and using cheaper greener renewable energy offers long-term solutions to the energy bill crisis, while also helping to tackle the climate emergency. We support the United for Warm Homes campaign and call on all political parties to get behind its asks.”