Grand Designs presenter attacks green deal row
Celebrity green architect and TV presenter Kevin McCloud has waded into the row over reports the government will scrap plans to link building regulations with the government’s flagship energy efficiency programme, the green deal.
The Grand Designs presenter led a green backlash against negative media coverage about proposals in the latest Building Regulations around ‘consequential improvements’ that has branded the changes as a ‘conservatory tax’ on extensions to people’s homes.
He was backed by the UK Green Building Council which accused the government of performing a u-turn and having ‘no backbone on green issues’.
Yesterday it was widely reported that the prime minister had stepped in to abandon plans in which homeowners would be required to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes when they made significant building improvements on the back of negative media coverage and criticisms from senior Tories.
This was intended to have been done at no upfront cost to households using the green deal, with the tab for the energy efficiency works being carried out by private companies and then recouped over time through the resulting energy savings.
Mr McCloud said: ‘Government’s plans to require homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home when they build an extension are about as sensible as sensible gets, especially when the homeowner doesn’t have to pay for those improvements. Reading the recent coverage I began to wonder if there was a secret anti-insulation lobby rabidly bent on increasing our domestic fuel bills. Things came to a head with the confabulated notion of a ‘Conservatory Tax’.
‘First, under proposals, conservatories below 30 square metres in size are exempt. Second, common sense prevails in that if projected energy savings fall below the cost of improvements, the homeowner can legitimately refuse to carry them out. Third, the improvements will be eligible for generous green deal funding. The green deal saves you money. If that makes it a tax, let’s have more of them.’
Paul King, chief executive of UKGBC, said: ‘If these plans are to be scrapped as reports are suggesting, this is another u-turn that shows once and for all that a majority of ministers in this government have no backbone on green issues, even when they save people money, and are good for the economy.
‘Government has a responsibility to look beyond the ludicrous media headlines. This policy would have helped protect ordinary people from soaring energy costs, as well as reduce carbon emissions to meet its own supposedly legally binding carbon budgets. It was also the best tool in the box for driving forward the green deal.’