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Green Deal take up ‘worryingly slow’

By Katie Anderson on July 2, 2013

Almost half a year after its launch, the Coalition’s flagship environmental policy and the product of the ‘greenest ever’ government has yet to produce a single “live” plan. That means not even one household in the UK has applied for finance under the Green Deal, had work carried out and organised repayments with an energy supplier.

The Green Deal was designed to make the UK’s housing stock more energy efficient by providing affordable finance for homeowners who wanted to install loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or a new central heating boiler. Athough subject to market rates, Green Deal loans are attached to the property, not the owner. Government officials believed this would encourage thousands of households to invest in energy efficiency improvements, but concern has been raised over the saleability of homes that are linked to long-term finance. Questions have also been raised over the affordability of Green Deal loans, interest rates for which begin at around 7 per cent.

Almost 40,000 assessments have been carried out under the scheme since its launch on January 28. An assessment provides homeowners with an opportunity to find out what energy saving improvements are available to them. Thus far, 241 homeowners have applied for finance under the Green Deal and a further four are in the process of finalising plans to have work completed. 245 live Green Deal plans would account for approximately 0.6 per cent of assessments.

In 2012, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker claimed the Green Deal would provide households with an “affordable solution to insulation”. Barker added that some eight million properties in the UK could benefit from improved insulation, but of the 5,000 or so people who have registered for the Green Deal Cashback Scheme, which is available to people in England and Wales, only two have requested money from the government for loft or cavity wall insulation.

Explaining why so few households have shown an interest in the Green Deal, Barker said: “It’s only the last few weeks, in fact in some cases the last few days, that the first wave of Green Deal finance has been available through a very limited number of companies. I think five in total”.