MPs’ report impels Government to revitalise failing Green Deal scheme

The Government must now consider new incentives to encourage energy efficiency after its Green Deal initiative has failed to attract enough potential customers in its first 18 months.

A report from the Energy & Climate Change Committee (ECC) has been published today (15 September), warning that the Government’s flagship Green Deal initiative ‘must not fall on deaf ears.’

The scheme was launched in 2013 with the aim of helping individuals and businesses make energy efficient improvements to their buildings at little or no upfront cost, helping them to deal with rising energy bills.

The ECC’s chairman Tim Yeo MP said: “The interest rates attached to the Green Deal are simply not financially attractive enough for many households to go to the hassle of setting one up.”

Financial motivation

Although the MPs are supportive of the deal, the general consensus is that the Government should set out a clear strategy to revitalise the scheme, making it clearer and appealing to wider sections of society.

Yeo added: “Broader incentives could encourage lots more households to take simpler and cheaper steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and save money on their energy bills.”

In order for more UK households to be encouraged to increase their energy efficiency, alternative financial motivation and other measures and regulations should be considered.

“Stamp duty discounts and variable council tax rates could be used to broaden the appeal of energy efficiency improvements and make them even more of a money saver for households,” the report states.

‘Absurd opposition’

Commenting on the report’s release, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: “It’s little surprise that MPs believe the government is failing the environment – the Coalition’s green record is abysmal.

“Time and again ministers have bent over backwards to make life easier for big polluters, such as oil and fracking firms, while consistently undermining efforts to develop the UK’s vast clean energy potential.

“Add to that its absurd opposition to the European-wide ban on bee-harming chemicals, the blocking of EU energy efficiency moves and tolerance of climate change denial from its backbenches and you have a pretty sorry picture.

“The Prime Minister’s decision to engage again with climate change by attending next week’s summit in New York is a welcome step forward, but real leadership requires action at home – not more hot air.” 

John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, added: “Energy efficiency is too great an untapped opportunity for this message to fall on deaf ears once again.”

“Government needs to treat energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, which means a long-term programme of incentives and support, enabling the private sector to get on and deliver lower bills for householders.”

Lois Vallely

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