Commenting on the impact of Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on Net Zero policies – including plans to drop energy-efficiency targets for private rented homes, Don McLean, CEO and founder of climate tech firm IES, said: “We are already at breaking point and need to accelerate our efforts if we are to have any chance of tackling climate change, so now Rishi Sunak is backtracking on several key Net Zero policies, the future impact will be catastrophic.

“Plans to drop new energy-efficiency targets for private rented homes will serve as a major blockade to the decarbonisation of the built environment, which is recognised as the largest source of climate emissions after surface transport. And while it may save landlords money not to have to pay to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties, it is their tenants who will suffer.

“Homes with poor energy efficiency ratings use and waste more energy, the costs of which remain sky-high amid a cost of living crisis. Occupant comfort will be put on the back burner, leaving tenants with homes that are harder to heat due to poor insulation in the winter months, or at risk of overheating during the record hot summers we have witnessed in recent years.

“It seems the Prime Minister is taking the Conservative’s surprise Uxbridge by-election win due to backlash over ULEZ as a green light to tank a string of crucial Net Zero initiatives. As it currently stands, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) announced in their latest report that more urgency is required for the Government, not less, so it is incredibly disappointing that Mr Sunak may gamble with such high stakes.”