‘Cold homes cost lives’—Green peace laid headstones in Westminster to hit back the the Tory failure to insulate homes (Picture: Greenpeace)

Fifty eight people die in freezing homes every day in winter—and Tory cuts to insulation funding are to blame. 

Greenpeace placed hundreds of headstones outside parliament to mark the “needless and shocking loss of life” on Wednesday. It placed wreaths that read, “Cold homes cost lives,” in front of the graves. 

This marked the charity’s new report into winter deaths between 2013 and 2023. The report found that since 2013, when then prime minister David Cameron began to cut green policies, there have been 70,000 excess winter deaths. 

The Tories slashed subsidies for loft and wall insulation. Government-funded home energy efficiency projects fell by almost 90 percent, from 2.3 million in 2012 to only 300,000 in 2013.  There were only slightly over 160,000 government-funded energy efficiency projects installed in 2022. 

Stuart Bretherton from Fuel Poverty Action said that drastic changes are needed to avoid more deaths. “The next government must set its ambitions high in delivering safe, non-toxic, non-flammable insulation appropriate for our homes, installed by well-trained workers,” he said. 

“Repairing and retrofitting the UK’s housing stock could prevent further loss of life, create thousands of skilled jobs and vastly reduce energy wastage for households, bringing down emissions and our bills.”

The recent report makes it even clearer that climate groups, including Insulate Britain, are right to bloke roads and cause disruption to force the government to insulate homes. 

But, instead of insulating homes, the state is prosecuting those who are fighting back against winter deaths. 

Seven Insulate Britain supporters were found guilty last week of common law public nuisance for blocking the A1306 road in Essex in 2021. David Crawford, Janine Eagling, Louise Lancaster, Nicholas Onley, Rob Stuart, Nicholas Till and  Biff Whipster. 

Lou Lancaster said following the trial, “Insulation is even more vital now than when we sat in the road. I am proud to continue the nonviolent fight until all the homes in Britain are insulated, and carbon is reduced and lives are saved.”

There have currently been 20 trials of Insulate Britain supporters—and in 11 of the trials activists have been found guilty. 

The fight to force our government to commit to adapting and insulating homes is a fight to protect some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society from the effects of climate change

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