A WOMAN whose home was blighted by damp after she signed up to cavity wall insulation has gone to parliament aiming to make it easier for victims to get redress.

Pauline Saunders, from Malpas, had insulation installed in her 1964 semi-detached home after being approached by a salesman.

Her property had always been free of damp but shortly afterwards, in 2014, the wallpaper began to bubble and wood panelling became mouldy, with walls in the hall, landing and stairs area damp to the touch.

She contacted Mark Group who sent a surveyor to the property, but he blamed the problem on maintenance issues, she said.

Mrs Saunders asked a Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) surveyor to inspect the property, specifically asking about rubble in the wall cavity which she knew some bricklayers would toss there in the 1960s.

CIGA offers 25-year guarantees if anything goes wrong with installation.

But in a debate at the beginning of February, Southampton MP John Denham claimed the body colludes with installers to suppress evidence of failure and mis-installation and said its directors had links to the insulation trade.

Mrs Saunders, who went on to help form the Cavity Wall Insulation Victim’s Alliance, said she insisted on checks with a boroscope (a camera drilled into the wall) but the surveyor told her no debris was present.

She said she knew cavity wall insulation should never be carried out if there is debris within the cavity as this breaches the industry’s code of conduct, but only realised it had been left there when her husband removed a brick from the wall.

Eventually she received £1,750 and the Mark Group removed the insulation, but she says she only received this after a report was sent to her in error which said: “The property was and is unsuitable for cavity wall insulation and should not have been insulated”.

Mr Denham MP raised her case during a debate, which Mrs Saunders watched.

He said: “Without that report, which was intended only for the eyes of the installers or CIGA, she would not have received a payout.

“Those whose cavity wall insulation goes wrong can find it near impossible to obtain swift and effective redress.”

Amber Rudd, undersecretary of state for energy and climate change, responded: “I want to state clearly for the record that my Department and the Government take very seriously the concerns that have been raised about people’s homes.”

She said she would ask Ofgem for a summary of the complaints it had received and consider conducting a review.

There was also scope to look at introducing independent oversight for all guarantees, she said.

Chief Executive of CIGA, Gerry Miller, said: “In this instance, Ms Saunders was let down by the insulation industry and for that I apologise. As a result we are taking steps to ensure that customers receive the best possible service, even in complex cases.

“Ms Saunders’ case, has now been resolved. Her insulation has been removed free of charge, and any damage to décor resulting from the installation has been rectified at no cost to Ms Saunders.

“It is important to remember that cavity wall insulation is very reliable and therefore problems such as these are extremely rare. Of the 6 million guarantees CIGA has issued over the past 20 years, less than 2 in 1000 have resulted in a claim.

“The UK’s cavity wall insulation industry has helped create millions of warm, energy efficient homes saving consumers considerable sums on their energy bills.”