Chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (CECCC), Tim Yeo, has doubted the efficacy of the Green Deal, which aims to improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s draughty housing stock.
According to Mr Yeo, the Green Deal is an excellent initiative, but its strong-arm tactics of forcing homeowners to install cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and other energy-saving products is plainly wrong.
Referring to plans to make energy efficiency a criterion for obtaining planning permission for conservatories and outbuildings, Mr Yeo said: “I’m not sure it’s the best first step at this stage.
“I think the laudable aim of the Green Deal to make all of Britain’s homes more efficient over the next decade is excellent and anything which encourages homeowners and tenants to make their homes more energy efficient is a good thing”.
Discussing the matter on BBC Radio 4, Mr Yeo added: “It’s good for them, saves them money and also is good for the environment – so we’re all in favour of that. The problem as I see it at the moment is the public are not really much engaged by this, they are not enthused by this prospect. It means having builders into your home, doing things, making a mess – all rather aggravating for a saving which is some way off in the future.
“You’ve got to find ways of making the public more enthusiastic and I think compelling people who have applied for planning consent to make some alteration to their home isn’t necessarily going to help”.
Mr Yeo could have a point. Although improving the energy efficiency of all homes is essential if Britain hopes to achieve its carbon emission objectives, there can be little doubt that forcing onerous conditions on property owners at a time of economic instability will win little favour with the public. People do want more energy efficient homes, but not so much so that they will sacrifice their current standard of living. People want energy efficiency on a budget and at little or no inconvenience.
Mr Yeo concluded: “I’m afraid there is a real risk the practical effects of this proposal may put them off”. He might just be right.