Ed Davey calls on business to become ‘megaphone’ for Green Deal

Opening the conference programme at Ecobuild yesterday, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey told delegates that Government and business would need to "stick together to build momentum" leveraging industry's expertise, contact with customers and, crucially, its advertising spend to ensure the success of the Green Deal scheme.

Headlining the session, entitled ‘The Green Deal and ECO – is it delivering?’, Davey re-iterated the fact that the scheme represents a brand new, long term approach, urging business to become part of “the Green Deal megaphone” to push the message out to market.

However, in addressing the session’s title and whether the scheme was delivering yet, it was very much a case of ‘watch this space’. He told delegates that progress would be reported through Government statistics and therefore legal restrictions prevented him from sharing much before publication. The first report is due this spring and would follow both on a monthly and a quarterly basis.

However, in the absence of concrete evidence, he did say that there were positive indicators, repeating the number of registered assessors and installers as proof of initial traction and success, and that there was a ‘good pipeline of work”.

However, he made it very clear that he sees the future as a collaboration, shifting some of the responsibility for success onto the business sector: “if we work together, we will succeed”, a sentiment echoed by other panel members in the same session.

British Standards Institution (BSI) CEO Howard Kerr for example, said: “the initiative will only succeed if industry takes up the challenge”. UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) ceo Paul King said it had “already changed the nature of the conversation about retrofitting, which has been the elephant in the room for many years”, but that “incentives for the many”, such as adjustments in Stamp Duty and Council Tax were needed to “take it to the great British public at scale”.

One area on which the panel stayed universally quiet, however, was the progress on implementing the Green Deal for commercial customers and buildings. It took a question from the floor to draw them on it, with King simply saying it was still a “live discussion” and that the UKGBC, among others, was still working with Government to determine what the key differences are likely to be from the domestic scheme. No firmer guidance or timeframes were volunteered.

However, answering the session’s topic, whether the Green Deal is delivering, he said that it was a yes from him, based on feedback from UKGBC members but that it wasn’t a “panacea and it won’t solve all our problems… but it’s a very important start.”

edie Staff

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