BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 23 July '15

Government axes flagship scheme to insulate homes

On the same day that David Cameron claimed ‘I believe we’ve been the greenest government ever’, the government announced it will cease funding its flagship home energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal.

Onshore wind support cut – government to reduce support for the cheapest large-scale renewable energy option

‘It makes no sense’

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday that there will be no further funding to the Green Deal Finance Company, which was responsible for issuing home improvement loans, and that the government will stop any future funding releases of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

‘We agree with the Secretary of State that climate change is an issue for everyone on the planet. She’s also right to say that bills need to be affordable, so it makes no sense to be pulling the rug under innovative technologies which can deliver both lower bills and energy security in the long term.

‘Innovation and enterprise are key to helping us move away from an unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels, and British industry has the opportunity to be at the forefront of providing that solution, both here in the UK and abroad.’

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable electricity company Good Energy

The expectation is that while no new loans will be issued, existing loans won’t be affected.

The Green Deal

Launched in 2013, the Green Deal was considered a revolutionary scheme that would boost the energy efficiency of UK homes. Loans were offered to homeowners wishing to install energy-efficiency measures, and then repaid in instalments through their energy bills.

But ‘in light of low take-up and concerns about industry standards’, DECC announced its intention to scrap the scheme. Its figures show that less than 10,000 Green Deal loans had been approved by June 2015, and that a further 5,597 were pending.

The government has yet to set out a clear vision of what will replace the Green Deal.

‘The Green Deal was the greatest flop of the last Parliament – it failed spectacularly in its mission to incentivise millions of householders to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. However, the government would have been wise to reform, rebrand and relaunch the Green Deal rather than scrap it altogether.’

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

‘Too difficult and too expensive’

The announcement came as part of the government’s wider review of energy policies; the Energy and Climate Change Secretary has confirmed that her first priority is ‘to get spending under control’.

‘We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses – which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal.

‘It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.’

Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Secretary

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), accused ministers of filing energy efficiency under ‘too difficult and too expensive’ at a time when the government should be increasing investment in this area.

A false economy

Daisy Sands, Greenpeace UK’s head of energy, expressed concerns that this latest move by government is a sign that ministers are giving up on efficiency.

‘The Green Deal was far from being a success, but coming right after the scrapping of the zero-carbon homes target, this latest move suggests ministers are giving up on efficiency. This would be a false economy. Fixing our heat-leaking homes is a triple-win policy that can bring down bills, cut carbon emissions, and reduce our dependence on energy imports. 

‘Better home efficiency will deliver far more energy security and cheaper bills than fracking ever will. Yet ministers are ditching the former whilst going all out for the latter. If ministers really want to cut emissions at the lowest price for consumers, they can’t afford to ditch energy efficiency. A new, ambitious programme for warmer homes is sorely needed.’

Daisy Sands, Greenpeace UK’s head of energy