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The Government’s energy efficiency taskforce – which was set up six months ago to reduce the UK’s energy use – has been disbanded.
The group, which was attempting to reducing the UK’s energy use by 15% by 2030, was announced by the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, in his autumn statement last year.
Members of the group, which aimed to speed-up household insulation and boiler upgrades, were informed it was being disbanded in a letter sent to them by energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan.
It appears the move to shut down the group is due to Rishi Sunak earlier this week axing energy efficiency regulations for landlords, as part of a green policies overhaul.
Since its formation in March, the group, which was chaired by the energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan and former NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose, has met four times.
Dame Alison resigned from the bank in July after a row over the closure of Nigel Farage’s accounts with the private bank Coutts, which is part of the NatWest Group.
Dame Alison later resigned from the task force after energy security secretary, Grant Shapps asked her to step down from her role.
In the letter sent on Friday (22 September) Mr Callahan explained Ms Rose would not be replaced and the group would be dissolved.
He told members their work had been “hugely valuable” but would be “streamlined” into other government activity.
Downing Street said the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) were dealing with enquiries about the closure of the group
A DESNZ spokesperson said: “We would like to thank the Energy Efficiency Taskforce for its work in supporting our ambition to reduce total UK energy demand by 15% from 2021 levels by 2030.
“We have invested £6.6 billion in energy efficiency upgrades this Parliament and will continue to support families in making their homes more efficient, helping them to cut bills while also achieving net zero in a pragmatic, proportionate and realistic way.”
Dame Rose was heavily criticised for being the source of an inaccurate BBC story, which discussed Mr Farage’s account at Coutts.
Mr Sunak announced plans to push back the deadlines for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and the phasing out of gas boilers.
The Prime Minister’s proposals were criticised by climate scientists and environmental experts, who said plans would prove costly for consumers and threaten the UK’s reputation as a global leader on the issue.
After the group was formed, the Government said it was set up to support “a step change in the reduction of energy demand through accelerated delivery of energy efficiency measures across the economy”.
Its 15 members were described as “a stellar team of leading experts” who would “bring together a vast wealth of knowledge to deliver on the government’s ambitious commitments”.
Mr Callanan said the government had “scoured the UK’s industry to amass a top team of the best and brightest,” adding: “We firmly believe the will of people and industry to drive down energy use is there, but we need to put in place the right mechanisms to channel this.”
Members included UK’s infrastructure chief, Sir John Armitt, and experts from the University of Salford, the UK Green Building Council and National Energy Action,
The group was set up to devise a plan to reduce energy demand across domestic and commercial buildings and industrial process, plus slash energy bills and helping push down inflation.