Barker unveils new measures to improve Green Deal clarity
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, left, with UK-GBC CEO Paul King
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker today set out a number of measures designed to provide clarity and confidence in the government's flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme ahead of its launch this autumn.
Speaking at the Ecobuild show in London, the Minster labelled the Green Deal scheme as a “brand new way of approaching energy efficiency” that will create “a brand new market and opportunities for industry”.
Highlighting the benefits of the scheme, Mr Barker said:
“Our analysis supporting consultation proposals suggest that employment in the sector could more than double by 2015. Personally I think these are conservative estimates. And we are talking about billions of pounds worth of investment. This needs to be seen as a 20 year programme which has long term confidence.
“In this way, the Green Deal is as much a part of our growth agenda as it is a part of our climate change policy.”
The Minister was at pains to point out that the scheme will not just focus on the insulation industry but will also be available for the heating, glazing, lighting and microgeneration industries, as well as other less we-known energy efficiency measures, such as flue gas heat recovery and waste water recovery systems.
Addressing the audience about tomorrow's Budget announcement, Paul King, CEO of the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), said:
“There are three things that government needs to deliver in this Budget - confidence, confidence, confidence. That means driving take-up in the flagship Green Deal scheme; providing incentives for businesses to invest in energy efficiency; and encouraging industry to invest in the skills needed in a low carbon future.”
In response to this, and other calls from industry for more clarity on how the Green Deal will be implemented and run, Mr Barker outlined a number of measures, including:
• A consumer advice line, set to go live on 2 April
• A Green Deal Provider guide containing a step by step guide on how to become a Green Deal Provider, to be launched by DECC (the Department of Energy and Climate Change) shortly;
• A Green Deal Opportunities for Industry document produced by the Construction Products Association and Energy Efficiency Partnership; and
• A series of up to ten regional events hosted by supply chain experts to help businesses understand what they need to do to be in the Green Deal.
Consumer protection & deregulation
Outlining DECC’s commitment to consumer protection, Barker said:
“Consumer protection is at the heart of the Green Deal and we want to make sure the Green Deal is the best deal for everyone. As a result, it is essential to strike a balance between adequate consumer protection and not creating cost prohibitive barriers to market entry.
“With this in mind, I am pleased to announce that we are proposing to remove the requirement for Green Deal Providers to have a surety bond in place prior to authorisation,” the Minister said.
It was also announced that the government will be removing the need for Green Deal Providers to provide an Independent Conciliation Service and will instead be procuring a bespoke Green Deal Ombudsman to deal with any complaints.
“We have also changed the warranties proposal, removing the requirement to hold warranties for the length of the plan. We are still proposing to include robust minimum standards,” the Minister added.
He continued: “Use of existing schemes where appropriate will mean that consumers will receive as much protection as is available. Where schemes don’t exist, our proposal to include a five year product warranty plus ten years of consequential building damage cover go further than the current industry norm. The minimum requirements we are putting in place means the warranty will be of real value to the consumer.”
The Minister also promised further announcements prior to the launch of the energy efficiency scheme, including more information on supporting skills development programmes, and further detail on how a promised £200million from the Treasury will incentivise the initial take-up of the scheme.
To read the speech in full click here.
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