Questions remain over the government’s long-term commitment to the Green Deal and support of SME builders, despite the launch of the long-awaited government consultation.
The UK Green Building Council said the document now needs to be backed up in the Chancellor’s autumn statement next week with detail around incentives for Green Deal take-up amongst home owners and building occupiers.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has seconded staff to look at marketing the Green Deal ahead of its start date in October 2012, however the government has been criticised that the lack of detail will not see any great take-up until 2014 at least.
UKGBC chief executive Paul King said the consultation launch was welcome as the Green Deal has potential to create ‘a huge new low carbon refurbishment market’.
He added: “However, in order to ensure sufficient take-up of the scheme, this document must be backed up by announcements from the Chancellor next week, outlining how they will incentivise take-up amongst home owners and building occupiers.
“Also, given recent announcements from government which have dented investor confidence – such as the cuts to the Feed-in Tariff – the government must articulate a clear, long-term vision for the Green Deal so that industry has the confidence to invest and ensure it has the skills to deliver.”
Meanwhile the Federation of Master Builders reiterated their concern that the scheme, which the government believes will provide £14bn investment over the next decade, will see SME builders miss out.
FMB director of external affairs Brian Berry said: “It’s great news that the government has listened to us and recognizes that SME builders are in direct contact with householders and are therefore well placed to advise householders on specific works that might be appropriate under the Green Deals.
“However, that potential is at risk if small building firms can only offer Green Deal finance by tying themselves to major companies. The danger is that the large energy and utility companies will hoover up the Green Deal market and squeeze out local builders which is very bad news both for the building industry and local economies.”
A total of 63 questions are set out in today’s consultation document.
The UKGBC said three key areas need to be addressed: Incentives to encourage take-up of the Green Deal; Proposals that give confidence to the private sector to encourage long-term investment and a smooth transition from CERT and CESP to the Energy Company Obligation to maintain the momentum within the insulation industry.