IT is both poignant and shameful that an estimated four hundred of our most vulnerable citizens died of the cold the winter before last (Journal, January 17, page 23). These people – elderly or disabled or ill – were having to live in freezing cold, damp homes. We dread reading the final 2017/2018 figure, which will almost certainly be higher.

It is shameful because there is every reason, and resource available, for the government to eliminate cold homes and fuel poverty. New homes, if built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, better still 5 or 6, are far more energy efficient than much of Wiltshire’s old rural housing stock.

It is welcome news that Wiltshire Council is borrowing £50 million from the Public Works Loan Board to buy or build 250 new homes for low-paid key workers and care leavers.

Can Cllr Clewer reassure us that the occupants of these new homes will not become the vulnerable citizens of the future? Will the Council make the wise investment now of enhanced insulation, glazing, draft-proofing, high efficiency heating and rooftop solar pv? The extra cost is £2-3K for mid or end terrace, or £5-6K for detached homes.

Inaction on climate change will incur the council much higher costs, including more lives lost to extreme weather events.

Salisbury Community Energy is calling for the elimination of cold homes and the uptake of renewable energy including solar pv. Our purpose is to future-proof Salisbury and the south Wiltshire area.

Alison Craig

Salisbury Community Energy