Green Deal: ‘a car crash waiting to happen’

Eco Environments sales & marketing director David Hunt slammed the Government's Green Deal in a presentation at Energy Solutions yesterday. In an exclusive interview with edie he explained why.

While recognising merit in the principle and a small portion of its practical application, he warned “it is in danger of killing itself.”

Hunt called the scheme “a big policy with so many holes in it.”

“It seems to have been rushed out to get a headline without it being fully cooked or fully thought through,” he said.

According to Hunt, the main issues are around the scheme’s funding.

He said: “From a domestic point of view there’s a 7.5% interest rate. That’s going to put off the domestic market straightaway – no one’s going to lend for over 10 years for that sort of interest rate. And then there are issues around selling your house because the debts still attached to your property.”

“There are lots of good things in it but it just doesn’t all link up and work. And that’s one of the frustrations. It should launch in the first instance around social housing and councils addressing fuel poverty.

“But for private homeowners and businesses it just doesn’t stack up at the moment and the problem you’re hearing from the industry is if you go to the market with something half-baked even the good bits get tarnished with the bad bits: good things get lost because there are so many negatives.

Hunt added that the Green Deal offers the UK a huge opportunity but it is in danger of “killing itself by not being ready and parts of it not stacking up”.

“I’d like to see it done in a transitional stage and roll it out from a fuel poverty and social landlord point of view. This way it would put some positive views about the Green Deal out there rather than the negative.

Hunt advised holding back on the domestic, residential and commercial areas until the finance policy is better improved.

In a debate moments before, at the Energy Solutions exhibition, independent think tank SustainAbility’s executive director Rob Cameron, had reiterated Hunt’s description of the Green Deal as a “car crash policy”:

He said:” In headline terms it looks great. But in practical implementation terms I am not convinced at all that we have a strategic plan ready to go and it doesn’t look like at the political level it is going to be given the support it needs”.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Office for Renewable Energy Deployment, Stella Matakidou, pointed out that the green industry was at an early stage.

She said: “It is a new area and DECC is trying to provide the frame work to enable the industry to operate going forward. We will need to have a lot of interaction with people on the ground to really test what’s happening and how to improve on it”.

Commission for a sustainable London 2012’s chair, Shaun McCarthy remained doubtful.

He said: “My concern again is about the practical implementation of the Green Deal. In principle it seems to be a good idea, but making it happen with the hundreds and thousands of households and small installation companies at the right quality is going to be difficult.

Mr Hunt is the Renewable Energy Association’s vice chair of the onsite renewables sector, though he was not speaking in this capacity at the show.

Live from the Energy Solutions exhibition at Olympia.

Conor McGlone

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