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Green Deal is axed

Amber RuddEnergy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has killed off the Green Deal 'in light of low take-up', it was announced on 23 July.

The new Conservative government has decided to kill off the Green Deal, by announcing in July that it will no longer fund the Green Deal Finance Company. This means that no more loans will be available to finance home energy efficiency improvements under what was hailed as a 'flagship policy' when it was launched in 2013 under the Coalition.

Not achieved expectations

Although some 10,000 properties have already had measures installed using Green Deal finance, with a further 5600 finance plans in progress, take-up of the scheme has never lived up to expectations, largely due to the high cost of the loans and fear of saddling a property with Green Deal debt. Also, there will be no more funding of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) when the current tranche of money runs out. Existing Green Deal plans, or applications and vouchers issued for the GDHIF, will not be affected, according to the government. The announcement does not affect the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

'Time for a new policy'

The new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that the move was made in light of low take-up and 'concerns about industry standards'. Ms Rudd said: 'It's now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.' The government is to continue support for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which targets low-income and vulnerable households, until March 2017, pending the outcome of a review of the entire home energy efficiency field.

Many in the industry see this as yet another drastic lurch in government policy that undermines confidence and engenders cynicisim. Companies and individuals who have worked to gain Green Deal accreditation now see all that investment and effort wasted, in just over 2 years. Will anyone have faith in any future scheme? When can we look forward to a coherent and consistent strategy for improving the nation's housing stock?

A typical comment on the DECC blog reads: 'What now for all the people like me who have invested a lot of time and money to work with the green deal scheme?' What now indeed. We must wait and see.