Former energy secretary Chris Huhne has claimed that the UK’s energy efficiency drive is being undermined by both the Treasury and the debate over the Conservative party’s future strategy.
According to government statistics, 43% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions are a result of buildings that leak heat and waste energy. Roughly 14 million homes in the UK are in need of better insulation, however, recent figures have revealed that just 245 households have agreed a Green Deal plan.
Better incentives needed
Huhne, who launched the Green Deal proposals in 2011, commented that better incentives need to be offered to homeowners if the scheme is to be successful.
Speaking to Responding to Climate Change, he said: “Here is a classic green measure that can do a lot of energy-saving and increase living standards, and help jobs everywhere in the country. The government ought to be driving that more than it is.”
The former energy secretary suggested targeting people who are moving home. The latter, in his opinion, are prepared to put up with a lot of decoration and work, and Green Deal retrofits could simply be another part of this.
He was doubtful this initiative would be adopted: “[That idea] potentially has fallen foul of the Treasury doing their usual abominable no-man act, and saying no, no, this would be against letting the market decide. And I think that’s a mistake and a misunderstanding of the nature of the programme and of the benefits.”
“I think a lot of the difficulties in implementing the things the government has done like the Green Deal stem from ideological issues within the Tory party, about having regulatory drivers for the programme,” he added.
Green subsidies and rising prices
Energy efficiency and the rising cost of utility bills are a hot topic at the moment, with recent research from energy supplier npower predicting bills could rise 19% by the year 2020 due to investment in ‘green’ infrastructure.
However, the government contended that bills will actually be proportionally lower in 2020 thanks to the Green Deal and other energy efficiency schemes.