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4th Dec, 2021

Sustainable Living

Evesham Editorial 23rd Aug, 2021

Mike Parker, Chairman of SeSaME, writes…

HAVE you been there before and done it better? Well I have. Maybe you don’t remember, it’s a long time ago. When we bought our rural cottage in 1972 its living standards needed massively improving. Luckily that just wasn’t our view. 50 years ago, Evesham Town Council felt strongly that a single cold tap and kitchen sink, single outside toilet, outdated electricity circuits and a leaky roof were just not acceptable in meeting even the basic needs of rural living.

They awarded us a 1969 Housing Act improvement grant of £1000. Amounting to 15% of the then value of our property the grant positively reflected the seriousness of our need, the basic living standards they expected for all their residents.

Plus they didn’t miss a trick then. The Town Council saw the wisdom of no longer building houses with just a cold tap etc. They knew we wouldn’t continue to need such grants as they had our backs.

We’ve been travelling a bit a bit of a rocky road recently however. Our tank storing, fossil fuel polluting, cottages are in grave need of upgrading to strict sustainable living standards. An urgency we hadn’t dreamt of in 1972 exposed for the early 21st century. Stark scientific evidence of the damage done to our environment by a climate emergency was now beginning to call for action, created by our burning high carbon fossil fuels.

By around 2014 our District Council had some time limited grants available and we were awarded a £3000 grant to improve our house insulation. Amounting to only about 1% of the then value of our property it was a relatively much smaller grant. It showed more a seriousness of need, revealing quite bleakly the increased scale of national investment needed.

It’s strange then we have now arrived at 2021 wilfully missing an incredibly basic trick. We are still building new houses, disdainfully disregarding reality – flaunting modest energy efficiency, and highly polluting, carbon fossil fuels boilers – grant fodder for the next decade. Nothing to be proud of when we are hosting COP 26

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