Reducing demand for gas has never been more essential to the UK’s national, energy and climate security. This briefing sets out nine steps the government could take immediately, using existing policies and mechanisms, to cut Russian imports by 80% this year and save an average of £150 per household.
Europe is rapidly re-evaluating its reliance on Russian energy imports in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The UK is fortunate that it does not import a high proportion of its gas directly from Russia. But as the price for gas is set internationally, regardless of where it is produced, the UK is still exposed to the unfolding energy crisis.
We must respond with a step-change in the pace of investment in secure, clean energy – fast tracking new solar and onshore wind – and a plan to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels (the prices of which we simply cannot control). As important as supply is, the quickest way to reduce our exposure to soaring prices is to use less gas, by reducing demand in homes and industry. The Energy Supply Strategy and Spring Statement are a chance to act decisively on household demand by:
- Increasing support for energy efficiency through existing schemes
- Accelerating take-up of the most efficient appliances
- Launching a major new public information campaign
- Expanding the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to speed up the electrification of heat
- Removing the tax penalties holding back energy saving home upgrades
- Lowering bills and incentivising electrification by removing legacy policy costs
- Introducing a comprehensive training offer to fill skills gaps
- Incentivising energy efficiency by amending the stamp duty system
- Accelerating the phase-out of gas boilers in new build homes