End of the Road


Dear gas and oil, we want a divorce and we’re taking the kids, writes Troy Da Costa of Wanstead Climate Action, who believes it’s time Britain ended its abusive relationship with fossil fuels

An unprecedented rise in gas prices will see a tripling in household fuel costs this April and an increase in inflation to a 30-year high of 6%. The cost to offset the rise is said to be £7bn. As always, the poorest and most vulnerable among us will be pushed into making some undesirable choices.

Insulating social housing could have gone a long way towards reducing the number of people forced into fuel poverty, which is defined as a household paying more than 10% of its income on heating and electricity. 

A national plan to retrofit all homes with low-energy and low-carbon technologies would have reduced demand and kept the volatile fuel prices in check, while making strides towards reducing our overall dependence on burning fossil fuels.

Coincidentally, these are the two main demands of an environmental group known as Insulate Britain, a group consisting of teachers, librarians and pensioners, many of whom risked life and limb and are now doing prison time for stating the obvious.

There are no guarantees the price of gas will magically fall to a more comfortable level after April, and throwing grants at the problem and reducing taxes and levies will only provide a temporary reprieve.

We need a nationally driven campaign, intervention at the highest levels, to move away from this fossil fuel addiction, or forever be at the whims of the inflammatory market.

Currently, there are schemes at a local level to help insulate your home and replace your boiler with one that’s more efficient, but the scope of who is eligible to receive these is too narrow to make a difference.

The only way to bring down the price of fuel is to use less at a national level. Green technologies already exist and are quickly becoming cheaper and more efficient. At times like this, we should be benefiting from these. We should be leaders in green energy, free from the tyranny of our instinct to set fire to things to keep warm and cook our food.

We have arrived at the end of our relationship with oil and gas. The point where it costs more than it benefits us. Our efforts to cling to the good old days and fanciful memories of better times have brought us to an expensive and startling awakening. To continue as we are would be delusional. 

Now is the time to pack our bags and walk away from this marriage of inconvenience for good.

For more information on Wanstead Climate Action, visit wnstd.com/climate