The government has confirmed that it will no longer fund the Green Deal, which signals the end of the programme that helps UK residents make energy-efficient improvements to their home and find an affordable way to pay for them.
The scheme, which applies in England, Wales and Scotland, was launched by the previous coalition government. It allows homeowners to take out inexpensive long-term loans to make their homes more energy-efficient. The Green Deal also offers cashbacks and incentives on sustainable upgrades such as boilers, insulation, and double-glazing.
According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the decision was made to protect the interests of the country’s taxpayers. The Green Deal’s first round had been low on take-up, with less than 1,800 householders signing up, and some of the rules and conditions had been greeted as confusing.
The Energy and Climate Change Committee admitted that the scheme had been poorly implemented and failed to live up to original expectations.
Calling the Green Deal a “flop from start to finish”, shadow energy and climate change minister Jonathan Reynolds said that the announcement simply confirmed that the current government’s energy-efficiency planning was a total failure from beginning to end.
The DECC confirmed that it would work with consumer groups and the building industry to find a more workable solution. Representatives explained that in addition to providing better value for money, any future schemes needed to better support the goals of insulating another million homes and tackling fuel poverty.
The decision was greeted with anger in some quarters, because the programme was abruptly ended without a replacement waiting in the wings. The home insulation industry warned that the result will be big uncertainty for firms while the government decides what the replacement policy will be.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said that the government’s plan to reduce high energy bills through insulation and other energy-saving measures was “dead in the water.” She added that the lack of forewarning would leave the energy efficiency industry “battered and bruised.”