Government boosts Green Deal with £20m community scheme
A new £20m Green Deal Communities scheme to help local authorities drive the delivery of the Green Deal has been announced today by the Government.
Under new proposals from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), local authorities in England will be able to bid for funding from the £20m scheme to help households benefit from the Green Deal on a street-by-street or area basis.
The Government has said that the scheme will enable local authorities to identify target streets and areas in their regions that could most benefit from the Green Deal, and then offer incentives to households in these areas to encourage the installation of energy efficiency home improvements under the Green Deal.
However, it will be the local authorities to propose incentives as part of their bids for funding, which will be assessed by DECC.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "If we are going to deliver the Green Deal at real scale then we need a 'street-by-street' vision and a 'street-by-street' plan. It starts here. However, local authorities really know their areas best. They know which streets and properties could most benefit from a Green Deal to improve their energy efficiency, and what local people need to provide them with a greater choice".
DECC has already provided £23m of funding for core cities and local authorities to kick-start the Green Deal, but some have crtitcised today's scheme for not being a big enough incentive to increase uptake.
Commenting on today's announcement, UK-Green Building Council's (UK-GBC) director of policy and communications, John Alker, a said: "It's encouraging to see Government exploring other options to drive uptake of the Green Deal...However, this will not be enough on its own. Additional incentives must be used if the Green Deal is to reach millions instead of just hundreds of UK homes."
Last month, the Government released the uptake figures of the scheme, which showed that just four customers had signed up to the scheme since its launch in February.
Speaking at the time, head of the Association for the Conservation of Energy's (ACE) Parliamentary Team, Jenny Holland, said: "The Government needs to take a long hard look at how high interest rates are deterring consumers. They should urgently consider introducing council tax or stamp duty incentives to help boost take-up - something they have been considering for years, but have apparently kicked into the long grass.
"The Green Deal is falling well short of being the "game-changer" that Government Ministers promised us it would be - they must act swiftly and decisively to put it back on track," she added.