The number of households insulating their homes has dramatically fallen this year, threatening to torpedo the Government’s energy efficiency drive and push utility bills even higher.
According to industry figures obtained by The Times, cavity wall insulation was fitted in 1,138 homes last month, compared with almost 40,000 in April last year.
About 47,000 installations need to be carried out each month until the end of the decade to meet targets to reduce energy consumption and cap household bills.
Cavity wall insulation is regarded as the cheapest and most effective mass-scale energy efficiency measure available to households. The slump underlines the lack of consumer interest in the Government’s Green Deal programme, which ministers have billed as the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War.
Under the scheme, which was belatedly launched at the end of January, people may borrow to fund the upfront cost of insulating their homes. It is hoped that consumers will apply for funds on the promise that the expected savings on their energy bills will be greater than their loan repayments.
Consumers have been reluctant to sign up to the scheme, though, put off by interest rates as high as 7 per cent, the inconvenience of having the work done and confusion over how it works.