Why would anyone be interested in the Green Deal?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 December 2010 at 8:42 am
This question was asked of the Question Time panel at RegenSW's conference last week, and their answers weren't a ringing endorsement of the Green Deal, the government's flagship policy for making domestic housing more energy efficient.
"I'm pessimistic that it will work," said Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, "but we have to try ... It looks like a complicated process to fund loft and cavity wall insulation and I'm not sure it will be worth it ... People don't get their lofts insulated because they've got so much clutter in their roof."
Given that, on a show of hands, only 40% of the audience at the conference had insulated their homes, Ian Marchant may well be right in highlighting the difficulty government faces in persuading people to insulate.
More incentive is needed according to Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines Ltd. "If you insulate, you should drop a council tax band," he said. "And why isn't there a removal of stamp duty when you transact the house, so people see the economic value [of insulating]?"
Jonathan Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future was slightly more upbeat. "I'm not persuaded that leaving energy efficiency of the built environment to the energy companies is the best way. Yes, take the levy, but get energy companies to compete on what they would do with that money. If the Green Deal is designed in the right way, I don't see why it shouldn't work. It's a bit early for me to say it's doomed policy."
The question was asked by Simon Roberts, chief executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol. For the Green Deal to be a success, he called for serious consumer protection; and space for local authorities and communities to be involved. "No one needs to do it [insulate], and it's not that economically attractive," he said. "They need to create mechanisms that make an incentive otherwise we will have a few private sector players tinkering around the edges, and not making much difference."
What do you think? Will the green deal work as an incentive?
Illustration by Vern Southern
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