After being launched as part of the government’s plan to “build back greener” the Green Homes Grant scheme is set to be closed.
Only 6 months after launching in September 2020, to much fanfare, the scheme will come to an end at 5pm on Wednesday 31st March 2021. The previous end date was set to be 31st March 2022 after a recent decision to extend the initiative.
After making a successful application for a Green Homes Grant, homeowners would receive a voucher to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of installing a renewable heating system or insulation.
For anyone who has already received a Green Homes Grant voucher then the expiry date can be extended upon request. Applications made before the deadline will still be processed after 31st March 2021.
An extra £300 million worth of funding will now move over to the Local Authority Delivery scheme. This initiative will allow low-income households to apply for financial help with improving the efficiency of their property through their local council.
Speaking about the news, Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Upgrading the country’s homes with energy efficiency measures means we can cut emissions and save people money on their energy bills.
“Today’s funding boost will mean even more households across England are able to access these vital grants through their local authority.”
Why is the scheme ending?
Since its launch, very few things have gone smoothly for the scheme that was intended to improve the efficiency of 600,000 homes. At the end of February, only 5,800 jobs have been completed through the scheme.
Homeowners and installers alike have both had problems making applications which has made it hard for homeowners to get the necessary quotes from registered tradespeople.
There were also obstacles in the way of homeowners who wanted to make some ‘quick wins’ to the efficiency of the property, such as draught-proofing and adding to single glazing. This is because they first had to use the scheme to install a renewable heating system or insulation. Something that not every homeowner wants or needs.
Climate change think-tank, E3G, reacted to the scheme’s closure by calling it an “avoidable tragedy”, saying: “There was plenty of demand for the grants but the scheme was plagued by incompetent administration. The reality is that we can’t get to net-zero without decarbonising our homes. A new grant scheme must now replace it which can get grants out the door fast, with long term funding to give businesses the confidence to invest.”
What will be done now to improve the efficiency of homes?
To meet the target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions, the insulation of around 19 million homes must be improved. A property that’s well insulated will remain warmer for longer, meaning that the gas boiler (the most popular heating system in the UK) won’t be on as much and emit less carbon into the atmosphere.
The Green Homes Grant scheme was supposed to be the first significant step towards improving the insulation of UK homes. Fortunately, the Local Authority Delivery scheme will go some way towards giving eligible homeowners the opportunity to have the insulation of their property increased.
In addition, the ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ announced by the government states that 600,000 heat pumps will be installed in homes each year from 2028 and as many homes as is possible will see their Energy Performance Certificate increase to band B and C by 2035.
How will the Local Authority Delivery Scheme work?
With the closure of the Green Homes Grant scheme, additional funding has been made available to the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme. This initiative is run by local councils and has already made around 50,000 homes in England more efficient.
To be eligible for the scheme, the household must have an annual income below £30,000. And successful applicants won’t have to make any financial contributions towards the energy efficient improvements.
We’re expecting more news on the Local Authority Delivery scheme later this year.