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Opinion: Green Deal or no Green Deal?

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Opinion: Green Deal or no Green Deal?

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Environment and also in Central Government, Housing, Regulation

Opinion: Green Deal or no Green Deal? Opinion: Green Deal or no Green Deal?

By Michael McMahon, managing director of Everwarm, part of the Lakehouse Group

Last Tuesday, the government lowered the levels of funding available for households and housing providers to claim back for energy improvements to their homes. Two days later, the entire Green Deal Home Improvement Fund was closed following a rush on applications. It took just six weeks for the £120 million allocation to be exhausted.

The uptake of the original Green Deal loan scheme was disappointing, with fewer than 3,000 plans in place by May of this year. The Department of Energy and Climate Change had originally targeted 10,000 by December 2013.

This was followed by the Green Deal cashback scheme, which six weeks ago evolved into the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. This was a clearer, more effective voucher scheme, initially offering up to £7,600 for energy efficiency improvements.

In reality, rather than shoring up the Green Deal, the fund provided some small compensation for the reductions in funding for insulation caused by the cuts to the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).

Last Friday’s announcement that it has already been assigned highlights the fact that it was never a sustainable long-term replacement.

Essentially, this announcement was a drastic decision launched without warning. Closing funding opportunities with no notice for the market risks seriously undermining customer confidence.

The repercussions will be felt strongly by vulnerable residents in inefficient housing stock. Housing providers will continue to feel the burden of fuel poverty with even fewer clear options on how to tackle it. With yet another change to the system, it is becoming more and more difficult for contractors and housing providers to fulfill their sustainability obligations and adjust to the fluctuating market caused by frequent policy changes.

We’ve moved a long way from the government’s commitment to being the ‘greenest government ever’. The case of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund this week shows that there is clear demand for energy efficiency upgrades and the government should work with industry to meet it.

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