The Antrim Councillor said: “These proposals should be warmly welcomed by many in Northern Ireland where many people suffer fuel poverty and cannot afford the capital needed to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
“The Liberal Democrats have proposed an “energy mortgage” which would be a loan tied to the property. The loan would be used for installing insulation or efficient heating systems, and if the property was sold, the loan would be taken on by the new owners. With reductions in fuel bills, the more energy efficient properties should be much cheaper to run, even with the loan repayments.
“There is also a significant advantage for people who find it difficult to pay for higher fuel bills during the winter, as the loan repayments would be evenly spaced through the year.
“There is an estimated 31 million tonnes of CO2 to be saved through this plan in the UK each year. That amount is more than what is produced by all the cars on the UK’s roads annually.
“This radical proposal makes sense and has been welcomed by the WWF. It is a shame large economies like the US cannot come up with such schemes; instead, they are already pushing up the world price of corn by trying to produce their own ethanol from corn in a process that consumes more energy than it saves!
“I want to challenge the next Environment Minister, Arlene Foster, to implement this progressive plan because it will help local people overcome fuel poverty as well as protecting the environment.