The Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced last week that the Green Deal would be scrapped with no replacement scheme to follow, as it had failed to deliver its objectives. Since the beginning, a total of 15,000 Green Deals had been issued. What are the voices of the industry saying about the scheme that has divided opinion since its inception in January 2013? HAmag.co.uk investigates.
Founder and Managing Director of Cambridge-based Green Heat Ltd, Peter Thom said “I’ve been one of the greatest supporters of this initiative. We have tried very hard to make it work over the past two years, but despite regularly raising our concerns with Government so improvements could be made, too much red tape has continued to prevent smaller installers like us from delivering the improvements our customers want - and can benefit from.”
“Sadly, contrary to the Government’s promises to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes, the Green Deal has left homeowners and installers frustrated, confused, out of pocket and ultimately, misled.”
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said “With each passing day, this Government puts an end to another green policy. Government's strategy on dealing with high energy bills through home energy efficiency is now dead in the water.”
“While the Green Deal was by no means perfect, the principle of enabling households to install energy saving measures without paying upfront costs was sound. The irony is that the scheme was finally becoming established and the number of plans was growing.”
“This is yet another announcement with no forewarning that will leave the energy efficiency industry battered and bruised.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB said “The Government’s announcement that it will provide no further funding to the Green Deal Finance Company and will also stop any future funding of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is the final nail in the Green Deal’s coffin. The Green Deal was the greatest flop of the last Parliament – it failed spectacularly in its mission to incentivise millions of house holders 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.”
“What’s clear is that the need to improve the energy efficiency of our properties is an increasingly pressing priority but the Government is showing very little leadership or ambition. The goal of insulating a million more homes over the next five years is a meagre target when you consider that around 5 million homes were provided with energy efficiency improvements through various schemes over the past five years. Although the Green Deal was disappointing in terms of what it achieved, it demonstrated that Government was serious about reducing the carbon emissions from our homes. As we get closer to the 2050 carbon reduction target, the Government should be increasing investment in this area but instead, Ministers have side lined energy efficiency – filing it under “too difficult and too expensive.”
Greenpeace UK Head of Energy, Daisy Sands said “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.”
It appears the opinions that span the industry are largely in agreement that whilst the Green Deal was far from perfect, it should not have been scrapped entirely without a reformed replacement policy in its wake. However, former Climate Change Minister Greg Barker stated that he was confident that the private sector would pick up the slack from the withdrawal of Government funding, ultimately keeping the drive for efficient homes alive. This assumption, whilst earnest, seems vague and unsubstantiated.
Following cuts to Zero Carbon Homes, recent attempts to permit fracking in Lancashire despite widespread opposition, the ending of subsidies to onshore wind farms and now the untimely demise of the Green Deal, many are losing trust and faith in this government to deliver long term solutions to the very real problem of climate change. Do the conservatives not wish to conserve? Perhaps to stop people feeling increasingly blue about the future of our environment and diminishing resources, the conservatives need to start thinking green as soon as possible before red lights start flashing.