Dickson says Minister must carry out a review following serious problems with cavity wall insulation in public housing

Alliance Social Development spokesperson, Stewart Dickson MLA, has said that it is vital that the Social Development Minister carries out a review of home insulation programmes in Housing Executive properties to deal with emerging problems of deterioration of existing Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) in order to combat high energy prices. His comments were made during a debate in the Assembly on Monday.

Motion: Insulation in Housing Executive Properties

‘That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Social Development to initiate a review of the range of insulation materials used in Housing Executive homes, to assess the heat retention properties of the materials used and to maximise the cost effectiveness of insulating the homes.’

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Home insulation and energy efficiency remains an extremely important issue, given that since 2009 the average price of home heating oil has increased by 62%; gas bills in the Greater Belfast Area are up 38%; and that we have the largest proportion of households using oil in Western Europe, with some of the highest fuel poverty levels.

“The specific issue has also been raised about problems with cavity wall insulation, particularly condensation and damp. In Northern Ireland, we are in a difficult position because most homes are exposed to high levels of wind-driven rain, and all forms of wall insulation seem to carry some risk of causing damp.

“Several housing areas have recently received publicity because insulation work has not been completed properly, or piles of damp insulation have been found at the bottom of some wall cavities.

“One would expect insulation that has been installed in the 1980s or 90s to start to deteriorate, but when a home is ten years old or less, serious questions arise about the material and the jobs that have been done.

“I’m also alarmed by stories of work not having been done, despite it being signed off as completed. The Housing Executive must carry out an audit of all properties to know for sure if jobs registered as being completed have actually been done. I think that they should be doing 100% checks to ensure that public money is being spent on work that is actually completed, and is being completed to a high standard.

“It is clear we have a long way to go before we see all our housing stock meeting appropriate targets for energy efficiency.


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