Reaching double figures
Ten years of NEA Fighting the Cold was celebrated at an event held at the London Guildhall in May 1991. Guests of honour at the event were 500 elderly people from all over the UK who had benefited from energy efficiency improvement work carried out in their homes; the event was also attended by Government Ministers, Peers and industry representatives. Over the previous decade NEA had been strengthening and developing its influence and involvement in the energy policy debate, and 1991 saw NEA’s participation in a range of initiatives aimed at influencing decision makers in local and national government, including: a series of seminars in partnership with the Policy Studies Institute to explore the economic, social, environmental and employment creation potential of investment in energy efficiency improvements; Ten Years Cold, a report by Dr Brenda Boardman which explored progress in the fight against fuel poverty; and a manifesto and election briefing spelling out the political action needed to tackle fuel poverty.
The first Conservenergy campaign organised by NEA also coincided with a major achievement – the insulation of the 1 millionth home to be improved since NEA’s establishment in 1981. The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Major MP, was one of over 50 Ministers and MPs to participate in the campaign by visiting a constituent who had received loft insulation, draught-proofing and energy advice. NEA’s commitment to training continued, and by early 1992 over 4,500 people had benefited from NEA’s training and NVQ programme. The NEA City and Guilds 6176 in Energy Awareness, the only recognised qualification in energy efficiency, had provided some 2,000 people with the opportunity to access this training.
NEA’s leading role in providing skills training for the energy efficiency industry was reinforced by the introduction of new National Vocational Qualifications for surveyors, energy advisors and insulation fitters. In 1992/93 Government provided £37.5 million for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme budget, a significant level of funding but one that NEA continued to argue met only the most basic needs. NEA’s analysis of the early stages of the scheme – HEES: the first fifteen months – recommended abolition of the compulsory client contribution, the increase of the grant maxima and the need for extra resources for further measures.