Green deal will ‘fail’ without fuel poverty changes
Consumer groups and environmental campaigners have written to the energy and climate change secretary warning the green deal could ‘fail on all fronts’ if it is not improved.
The signatories to the letter – including Which?, WWF and Greenpeace – argue the scheme should put more emphasis on tackling fuel poverty and extend support for loft and cavity wall insulation.
Under the green deal and accompanying energy company obligation households will get energy efficiency work to improve their homes without paying up front. They will then pay back the cost of the work, with interest, using savings on fuel bills.
The £1.3 billion a year energy company obligation will be used to finance measures that are not cost effective under the green deal. The largest chunk of the money - £760 million – will be used for solid wall insulation and related measures. The remainder will be used to tackle fuel poverty.
The government’s impact assessment predicts the switch from cavity wall and loft insulation, which are favoured by current energy efficiency schemes, to solid wall will result in an 83 per cent decline in loft insulation between 2012 and 2013, and a 43 per cent reduction in cavity wall insulation.
The letter argues the government should extend its support for these measures. ‘Millions of homes still need loft and cavity wall insulation, which are among the most cost effective ways of cutting energy bills and delivering carbon savings,’ it states.
‘We also believe the reduction in funding for energy efficiency support for the fuel poor is also a matter of considerable concern so we want to see a greater share of ECO funding explicitly targeted towards tackling fuel poverty.’
The letter was sent on 2 July but only published today.
Shadow climate change minister Luciana Berger said: ‘To be successful the green deal must be a good deal for hard pressed consumers struggling to meet the cost of sky high energy bills. This letter is a yet another stark warning to the Tory-led government that their current plans simply don’t add up.’
Energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey said: ‘The government is confident that the green deal will be a success. The scheme currently supports 45 different energy efficiency improvements, many of which are low cost. Over 40 per cent of ECO, around £540 million per annum, is guaranteed to go to low income households, and it will deliver around 830,000 cavity wall measures between now and March 2015.’