Green Light for Green Deal

Mitch Cooke set-up specialist environmental planning consultancy Environmental Perspectives in 2006 having previously led the environmental planning teams for WSP and WYG. In 2012, the company became Greengage Environmental LLP.

Councils such as Birmingham, London and Manchester are well-advanced with their plans for the government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme ahead of its launch on 1st October. However, the preparation of smaller, less well-resourced, councils is proving patchy.

The Local Government Association (LGA) sees the Green Deal as an opportunity to fund energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses whilst creating jobs (they also state that this will promote regeneration but I’m not sure that this will be the case). However, in its response to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Green Deal consultation in January, the LGA pointed out that the recent feed-in tariff row has damaged councils’ trust in DECC-led initiatives.

Councils need more details and an active programme of engagement with DECC and others to really push this scheme forward. The lack of detail on how they will work as promoters, facilitators or providers seems to be frustrating those that don’t have the resources to proactively respond to it.

Whilst there are several options for councils’ involvement, there are still some concerns over how government seed funding will be shared regionally. Those that have broad responsibilities for social housing and regeneration are in the front line for Green Deal delivery and the associated Energy Company Obligation (ECO) for vulnerable and hard-to-insulate homes. The London Councils and the Greater London Authority have warned that the capital, which has many hard-to-treat homes and high-rise buildings, may not get an adequate share of the £200m DECC is making available to boost Green Deal take-up.

Despite these concerns, it seems that the Green Deal is being seen as a long term initiative and some councils are moving forward with their own home energy initiatives that will become the Green Deal once the legalisation comes forward. The future of home insulation seems therefore to be getting the green light from the green deal…