THE four Parliamentary candidates for Montgomeryshire will respond to the ‘Climate Emergency’ declared by Machynlleth Town Council at a public hustings this Saturday.

‘Climate and Nature Hustings’ will start at 3pm in ‘the Vortex’ at Y Plas, following directly from a ‘Futures for All’ event in the adjacent hall. This Machynlleth Climate Festival will run from 11am to 3pm. People will be asked to contribute questions to the candidates during the day.

The main aim of Futures for All is to encourage Machynlleth people to have their say and share their ideas about what the climate emergency means for us and for Machynlleth’s future. Stalls, information and activities will show what volunteers have been working on so far, including the interim action plan presented to the Council in July.

Part of the event will be dedicated to exploring how to keep houses warm without spending too much. Information from Welsh Government’s NEST programme will be available, helping householders apply for free or subsidised improvements such as insulation and up to date boilers.

The ‘Energy in Buildings’ working group (part of Machynlleth Climate Action) will be asking 'Which are the top five problems affecting local homes?' The group aims to find out how buildings in Machynlleth can help tackle the Climate Emergency and build local resilience to the coming changes, while saving people money.

A second aim is to identify barriers that stop us renovating our homes, even though this would increase our comfort levels. The group also wants to improve communication between all of those involved in upgrading and maintaining our homes, including housing associations, the County Council, households and tradespeople.

Carlos Alonso-Gabizon, of the group, said: "Something has to be done as soon as possible. Energy usage in buildings is a big part of our carbon footprint and many people are living in damp houses that are expensive to heat. We cannot wait for a solution that comes from somewhere else. It's time for every actor in the housing sector to get together to discuss possible solutions and to act now."

The group’s research shows that 1,686 of the 3,651 households in the SY20 postcode area have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is one way of identifying the energy efficiency of a home. It rates homes on an A-G scale, with 'A' being the highest grade possible and representing a highly energy efficient home. An EPC gives home owners, landlords and those renting an idea of the cost of energy associated with living there.

EPC's are required if you are to sell a home, but there is currently no minimum standard for existing homes sold privately. All newly built homes must be at least a 'B' before being sold. All rented properties, both private and social, must achieve at least an 'E' rating before being rented. Even an 'E' rating means that the home is not very energy efficient, and this leads to higher heating costs for the occupants trying to maintain a comfortable and healthy environment.

Fifty-seven per cent of the houses in the SY20 area with EPCs have a rating of 'E' or lower - meaning that they are very energy inefficient. The good news is that within our homes there is great potential for reducing our running costs, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing comfort.

Everybody is being invited to the event on Saturday, November 23 - to have their say about the climate, how it affects us locally and what we should do about it.