The UK government’s scheme to encourage energy efficiency in homes and buildings through low-interest loans has failed to draw enough interest after its first 18 months, according to a report from the House of Commons-appointed Energy and Climate Change Committee.
“The interest rates attached to the Green Deal are simply not financially attractive enough for many households to go to the hassle of setting one up,” ECC chair and Conservative Party politician Tim Yeo said.
The committee said the government now needed to consider alternative incentives to encourage energy efficiency and help households deal with rising energy bills.
“Broader incentives could encourage lots more households to take simpler and cheaper steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and save money on their energy bills,” Mr Yeo said.
“Stamp duty discounts and variable council tax rates could be used to broaden the appeal of energy efficiency improvements and make them even more of a money saver for households.
Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said it was no surprise that MPs believed the government was failing the environment, stating that the government’s green record was abysmal.
“Time and again ministers have bent over backwards to make life easier for big polluters, such as oil and fracking firms, while consistently undermining efforts to develop the UK’s vast clean energy potential.
“Add to that its absurd opposition to the European-wide ban on bee-harming chemicals, the blocking of EU energy efficiency moves and tolerance of climate change denial from its backbenches and you have a pretty sorry picture.
“The Prime Minister’s decision to engage again with climate change by attending next week’s summit in New York is a welcome step forward, but real leadership requires action at home – not more hot air.”
John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council said that energy efficiency was too great an untapped opportunity for the message to “fall on deaf ears once again”.
“Government needs to treat energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, which means a long-term program of incentives and support, enabling the private sector to get on and deliver lower bills for householders,” Mr Alker said.