Hywel Williams highlighted the plight of homeowners who have had the insulation installed, many of whom having been encouraged to do so by government-backed schemes. The end result is that a large number of these properties are now facing problems ranging from damp to mould and condensation.
Cavity wall insulation was intended to make homes warmer and more energy efficient. However when it is installed incorrectly, or installed in properties that are not suited to it, it can lead to higher – rather than lower – heating bills and compromise the structural integrity of the building. Condensation, mould and damp problems can also impact on the health of families living in an affected property.
One of the main problems facing properties fitted with cavity wall insulation is driving rain. This is particularly prevalent in Wales and the South West of England where properties have been badly affected.
Successive governments promoted cavity wall insulation as part of their drive to improve the nation’s energy efficiency, but the initiative has backfired. Mr Williams says that people were told they would save around £250 per year in reduced heating costs by having the insulation installed. He has highlighted the particular plight of older and poorer people and those with disabilities who were understandably keen to take advantage of the savings being offered.
Mr Williams, who is dealing with 60 cases in his Welsh constituency alone, is now calling on the government to take responsibility for what he describes as the “dreadful mess”. He wants the government to establish precisely how many properties have been affected, to rectify the failed installations and provide compensation to homeowners.
The UK government has confirmed it is committed to ensuring that consumers are protected when choosing cavity wall insulation, but no specific measures have yet been promised.
A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman has said that installations carried out under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) are subject to quality standards and Ofgem requires cavity wall insulation to have a minimum guarantee of 25 years guarantee. The industry-funded guarantee organisation, known as the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, or CIGA, has been criticised for its response by many householders.
The Welsh government which has announced that it is working with partners to address the issues, confirming it is in discussion with CIGA about its concerns, especially the adequacy of pre-installation assessments.
If you are experiencing problems with a property that has had cavity wall insulation installed and would like to know where you stand then call our FREE legal helpline on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected]