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Contractors join UKGBC for new Green Deal task group

Carillion, Sweett Group, Willmott Dixon and Keepmoat are to join the UK Green Building Council in expert panel to advise the government on galvanising Green Deal takeup.

Speaking alongside climate change minister Greg Barker at the Conservative Party conference, UKGBC chief executive Paul King welcomed the Green Deal scheme, but warned that without adequate support it may falter.

The task group will include UKGBC members and other stakeholders, and will assess financial incentives for householders, such as varying rates of council tax and stamp duty. It will also look at ways of minimising costs to the Treasury.

The Green Deal is the government’s flagship environmental programme, designed to spur £14bn of private investment as homeowners take up cheap loans to fund energy efficiency improvements.

However, its launch last week was tempered by fears of a lack of consumer demand, concern over rogue traders, and even the threat of job losses in the insulation industry.

The UKGBC task group is supported by the Construction Products Association, funded by the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts and is due to deliver its findings in early 2013.

Among those taking part are Drivers Jonas Deloitte, Saint-Gobain UK, Berwin Leighton Paisner, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, the CBI, Sweett Group, Carillion, L&Q, Marks & Spencer, Keepmoat, WWF-UK, Willmott Dixon and Travis Perkins.

Mr King said the initiative “still has the potential to be truly revolutionary in driving mass home retrofit”.

“This new market could, if nurtured properly, create jobs, stimulate economic growth and protect consumers from ever-rising energy prices.

“But without firm plans in place to drive uptake, the scheme could fail before it has even properly started.

“Everyone says we need to incentivise the Green Deal, but there is actually very little out there in terms of robust advice on how Government would begin to implement some of these ideas - particularly in a way that minimises costs to Treasury. This work is intended to do just that.”

Government representatives have ruled out a promotional television campaign to raise awareness, and take the view that marketing the scheme is down to industry figures.

CPA chief executive Diana Montgomery said: “There is strong support from industry for the Green Deal but also wide consensus that something needs to be done to encourage households to take it up. Get the incentives for retrofit right, and the benefits for households, businesses and for UK-plc will be enormous.

“Collaborating with the UKGBC on this Green Deal Task Group project will help us to ensure that we can help government effectively navigate the options they have available to them for capitalising on that opportunity.”

Green Deal incentives to be examined include:

  • Stamp duty banding/rebates
  • Council tax banding/rebates
  • Energy efficiency feed in tariff
  • Subsidised interest rates for Green Deal
  • Low interest loans (outside Green Deal)/ Green mortgages (underwritten by Government)
  • Lump sum grant/payment (cashback/vouchers)
  • Progressively tightening minimum standards, inc. extending to owner-occupied sector
  • Salary sacrifice (tax free scheme) through work/tax credits
  • VAT cut extension to a wider range of measures

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