The great cavity wall calamity: 1.5 million homes are blighted by damp after cowboy builders cash in on a Government insulation drive
Millions of homeowners persuaded to sign up to scheme with promise of cheaper bills by call-centre staff and salesman trying to meet targets
The Government scheme was meant to make homes energy efficient
But experts claim homes were not suitable for cavity wall insulation
Victims left with houses riddled with damp and mould from botched fittings.
More than 1.5 million homes have been left blighted by botched cavity insulation work carried out to meet Government energy targets, experts say.
Properties across Britain have suffered dampness and mould, causing smells, crumbling plaster and stained walls. In some cases, the value of homes has plunged.
The scheme, funded by a ‘green tax’ on household gas and electricity bills, was meant to cut emissions and reduce charges by making homes more energy-efficient.
But experts claim that many homes were simply not suitable for ‘retrofitting’ cavity wall insulation, while others were in parts of Britain where weather conditions should have precluded its use.
Some people have been left suicidal
Millions were persuaded to sign up to the scheme by the promise of cheaper bills from call-centre staff and door-to-door salesmen employed by energy firms obliged to meet Government targets.
A survey of 250,000 properties by thermal-imaging company IRT found the addition of cavity wall insulation to existing homes had failed to work in a quarter of cases and problems in half the homes it surveyed. Some owners even saw bills rise.
With more than six million properties having had the treatment since 1995, this suggests that as many as 1.5 million are affected.
Campaigners claim some people are suicidal after their properties were left riddled with damp patches and mould as a result of botched fitting, which can take thousands of pounds to put right.
Stephen Hodgson, of the Government-endorsed Property Care Association, said some homes were simply not suitable for the work as their design meant the insulation – which is pumped into walls via holes drilled into the exterior brickwork – acts as a ‘bridge’ for moisture to cross the cavity into the house.
He said: ‘Contractors were desperate to mop up vast sums of money made available by energy firms on the back of Government green targets.’
Under Government rules introduced in 1994, energy firms must help improve the efficiency of their customers’ homes, with costs added as a levy to all household fuel bills. The cost is around four per cent on top of an energy bill – equivalent to £47per year on average.
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