FOLLOWING THE GOVERNMENT ending the Green Homes Grant scheme, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has written to the Business Secretary calling for clarity for contractors and homeowners.
Just a week before the scheme’s closure, the EAC called for the Green Homes Grant to be urgently overhauled and extended. But the Government failed to consider the EAC’s recommendations set out in its report, Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes.
Instead, it scrapped the scheme, leaving homeowners without any support to retrofit their homes and save energy.
Net Zero Target
UK homes account for 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. With 19 million homes failing to achieve EPC rating C, there is a pressing need to make homes more energy efficient. It is particularly urgent if Government is to meet its net zero targets.
The EAC is now looking forward to the Heat and Building Strategy and what provisions may be made for a multi-year energy efficiency programme in the next Spending Review.
In the meantime, the EAC’s letter demands the Government urgently explains the decision to end the Green Homes Grant.
Disillusioned Supply Chain
The letter to the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, also explains to the Government that the supply chain of contractors and installers who had invested in delivering the GHG are now no longer gaining work from private home retrofits. Most contractors are not geared up to simply switch to local authority work, the EAC points out.
This means that retrofit contractors are disillusioned and likely to be sceptical about any forthcoming Government initiative that requires their investment. It also means that they are engaged in other types of work and will not be available for future retrofit schemes.
Retrofit Postcode Lottery
The EAC has welcomed the increased funding and longer timescale for the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant and for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. However, as the committee points out in its report, this will only be effective in areas where local authorities have resource and capacity, otherwise a ‘postcode lottery’ is likely to ensue.
Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne MP, said: “We have been clear all along: the Green Homes Grant was a good initiative but was poorly implemented.
“This Government has shown its willingness to be an environmental world leader, but I fear its green credentials risk being undermined by poor policy decisions. Actions speak louder than words, and simply abandoning a critically important decarbonisation scheme when cracks appeared sets a poor example in the year we aim to show climate leadership.
“Cutting emissions starts at home. The homes we live in contribute a huge amount of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, so undertaking effective retrofits and stemming those emissions is key to reaching net zero by 2050.
“Businesses need to get behind low-carbon housing and have the confidence to upskill employees. Householders need to get behind low-carbon housing and understand how energy efficiency can be enhanced and heating costs cut.
“Above all, the Government must get behind low-carbon housing and comprehend the complexity of decarbonising our housing stock, committing to initiatives essential to make net zero Britain a reality.”