Industry responds to Green Deal update

Published:  13 June, 2012

Industry has had a mixed reaction to the latest Green Deal update, with companies welcoming the clarity, but questioning government figures and fuel poverty plans.

Most welcomed the latest details being released for a scheme that has been shrouded by confusion and uncertainty for many months, with Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy saying that "more details on how the Green Deal will operate on a practical level is an important step".

Kelly warned, however, that there is still plenty of work to do, and that government has to "move quickly to get everything in place.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change published its response to the consultation paper earlier this week, also adding 15 new technologies to the measures that will be eligible for Green Deal financing.

Garry Worthington, head of Green Deal at Climate Energy, welcomed the improvements that have been made to consumer protection schemes. "These new safeguards," he said, "along with the plans to calculate savings on a daily rather than annual basis," will go a long way in encouraging homeowner and tenants to take advantage of the finance available for energy-efficiency improvements."

He said the response would answer some questions and help the company progress with its plans to become a Green Deal provider.

"However," he added, "we are disappointed that the government remains undecided about its £200 million fund to kick-start the scheme. We think the current plans to use this purely as a cash-back incentive over the next two years are misguided and that could be used much more creatively to support regional schemes, local innovations, jobs, communities and delivery to give take-up an initial boost. We would also urge DECC to reconsider its support around promoting Green Deal and creating awareness of the scheme."

David Lennan, chairman of LoftZone, queried the insulation figures that the government gave in its statement.

"The real figure of homes fully benefitting from at least 125mm of loft insulation is actually 2.6 million," he said, "which is only 11% of total homes with lofts, not 62% as claimed by DECC.

"Of the claimed 14.6 million homes with loft insulation, our research shows that 82% also use their loft for storage. This means that their lofts are either boarded or have items placed on top of the insulation, in both cases compressing the insulation and reducing its effectiveness.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) also raised concerns that the Green Deal wouldn't do as much to alleviate fuel poverty as the government hopes.

Chris Norris, head of policy at the NLA, explained: “The NLA supports the Green Deal, but we are very concerned that obligations placed on the energy companies will not assist those most in need.

“The Affordable Warmth element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) largely recreates existing policies that have failed to achieve any results in the private-rented sector. Understandably this funding is directed towards the tenant, but research has shown that tenants are uncomfortable communicating their individual circumstances with their landlord, which will fundamentally restrict take-up.

“For this to work the government must learn from their previous mistakes and realise that the Affordable Warmth Obligation of ECO is far from practical. Unless key elements of ECO are reviewed, the Government’s flagship scheme to alleviate ‘fuel poverty’ will fail.”