An abandoned government programme to insulate UK homes cost taxpayers nearly £400m and did not deliver energy or carbon savings, a report by official auditors has found. The green deal scheme was launched in January 2013 with the intention of handing out loans to improve domestic energy efficiency. It folded in July 2013 despite claims by David Cameron that his would be “the greenest government ever”. The National Audit Office has examined the scheme for the first time and found that the Department for Energy and Climate Change spent £240m on the scheme. Another £154m has been spent on the green deal home improvement fund which was set up to provide subsidies for efficiency measures, auditors found. They said 1.4 million homes benefited from measures ranging from new boilers to insulation by the end of last year under government schemes, but just 1% of households took out “green deal” loans. Around 14,000 households opted for the loan scheme but the numbers fell far below expectations, the report said. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the public accounts committee, said the report shows ministers and officials had little idea how to implement the scheme.
Guardian 14th April 2016 read more »
The Scottish Greens have launched their 2016 election manifesto, vowing to build more homes, make rent fairer and end fuel poverty. Published yesterday, the manifesto sets out how the party intends to create jobs through building good homes for all; increase socially rented homes and make fuel poverty a national priority. Believing that renting should be a positive option, the party said it will push for action to increase the amount of social housing, control rents, increase security of tenure and improve management in the private sector. According to the Greens, Scotland needs at least 12,000 new social rented homes to be built each year, and thousands more than that just to meet population growth and replace older housing. It plans to enabling councils to buy land cheaply to encourage the construction of more and better homes. WWF Scotland welcomed the Scottish Greens’ manifesto commitment to end cold homes. Director Lang Banks said: “Their pledge to support all homes to reach a minimum ‘C’ energy performance standard by 2025 would cut emissions, tackle fuel poverty and create thousands of jobs. “All the party leaders reiterated their support for the Scottish Climate Act by signing the Climate Leaders’ Agreement late last year. With households across the country wasting carbon heating the cold air outside their homes, it’s vital we improve the energy efficiency of our buildings if we are to meet our climate targets. “With a new climate action plan legally required by the end of the year, it’s crucial all parties bring forward policies that will secure the benefits of moving to a zero-carbon economy.”
Scottish Housing News 13th April 2016 read more »
Only 10 weeks and UK voters will make the most profound decision of this decade – will Britain stay or leave the European Union? There have been numerous analyses of what the implications of a so-called Brexit might be. Those include the economic impacts, security, and sovereignty. In this blog I will discuss one specific area that would be significantly affected by Brexit but where an analysis is missing so far: energy efficiency. Historically, the EU had little influence on national energy efficiency but this has changed particularly in the last years. A number of important directives set EU-wide standards and targets for energy efficiency. One could argue that the UK would simply replace EU legislation with national policies. However, recent policy changes in the UK do not instil a lot of confidence that there would be a strong national energy efficiency drive. As a result, progress would stall with little energy efficiency improvements in a country that still has one of the oldest and leakiest housing stocks in Europe. Whilst EU energy efficiency policy is by no means perfect, it plays an important role for achieving a long-term transition towards a more sustainable, modern and fairer energy system. The prospect of a Brexit in June this year is all but encouraging for the future of energy efficiency in Britain.
SPRU 13th April 2016 read more »