The chair of the island’s new Climate Change Board Daphne Caine says there is widespread public support for progress to be made on reaching the gov’s climate targets and needs for mitigation measures.
Mrs Caine was asked to chair the climate change board by new Chief Minister Alf Cannan, with her appointment being announced at the same time as the announcement of the new Council of Ministers.
While this board is taking climate change half a step away from DEFA and positioning it nearer to the centre of gov, Mrs Caine said the board will be using the expertise of the dept in working across government to ensure the island can meet its emissions targets.
Mrs Caine said: ‘So far we’ve got the green living grant which is now available for people to have a home energy audit and then, depending on how much in need they are of retro-fitting their property, they can get up to £6,000 (up to 50%) of work done on property and that can be on anything from insulation to alternative sources of heating to fossil fuel boilers.’
One of the biggest criticisms of this model however is that it relies on people having thousands of pounds available to them to pay for their half of the work meaning the people on the lowest incomes are more likely to have insufficient insulation, thereby requiring them to pay may in heating their home.
Mrs Caine recognises this and said the scheme, which has been carried over from the previous administration, can be examined and tweaked if it is found to not be supporting those who need it. The scheme also doesn’t currently extend to local authorities, with Mrs Caine saying there has been contact with at least on authority which wanted to see what more could be done to help its tenants.
We Need to Lead
While the gov is helping people with their homes, Mrs Caine said the board will also be pushing for improvements to the gov’s estate to ensure its buildings are as eco-friendly as possible. She said: ‘From my perspective, government has to be seen taking action. So we need government estate to have solar panels, or new builds where there are developments coming up in the pipeline, the new schools, etc. Laxey School was re-roofed, but where was the solar panels? Where was the imagination and forward looking to say how do we improve this for the future? So I’m hoping that we can ensure that this is something that is done. We know the actions that need to be taking, but I think there has been a reticence, almost a sort of holding back while we gather more evidence and at some point [we have to act].
‘There is always going to be improving technology, there’s always going to be something better down the line, but what we need and what I’m tasked with by the Chief Minister, is a route map of how we’re going to get back to net zero and the key points along that journey to say what are the big ticket items and investments and decisions that the island needs to take to get us there.’