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How to get a good deal from the Green Deal

The government’s consultation on its Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) proposals ends today. These are the government’s flagship carbon reduction policies, aimed at reducing carbon emissions from homes and small businesses. They are both due to launch this autumn.

Under our Climate Leadership Programme, Green Alliance worked with three coalition MPs in their constituencies in late 2011, looking at what the current proposals would mean in practice and how they could be improved. We found that the Green Deal is at risk of very low uptake by the public, especially if the needs of local economies and the fuel poor are ignored.

Local Green Deal workshops
As our contribution to the government’s consultation and wider political discourse on a low carbon transition, we’ve just published our latest policy insight, Getting a good deal from the Green Deal: views from local communities. This presents conclusions from three workshops we ran, in Hexham, with Guy Opperman MP; Bristol North West, with Charlotte Leslie MP; and Redcar, with Ian Swales MP. These are three very distinct constituencies, differing in character and the issues they face.

Delivering on its promise
The MPs and their local stakeholders at our workshops could definitely see the potential of the Green Deal to reduce energy use in homes and businesses but, as it is currently designed, they had significant concerns about its ability to work well. We have concluded that there are major hurdles to overcome before this policy can really deliver on its promise.

Five strong messages emerged from our workshops, which highlight necessary requirements for success:

  • help to encourage take-up, particularly by using the Green Investment Bank to help deliver preferential 2% interest rates on loans;
  • give more support to the fuel poor, by increasing funding through the Energy Company Obligation;
  • make sure local economies benefit, by supporting Green Deal accreditation for small businesses and tradesmen;
  • spread the message, by introducing a national marketing strategy and give existing community networks communications resources; and
  •  help to drive real demand reduction, by making sure the most effective measures are installed first and working with local agencies to help people change their inefficient behaviours.

Later this month, we’ll be discussing these messages with Greg Barker MP, minister for climate change, in a meeting with him and the three MPs who were involved in the project.

For more information, contact Hannah Kyrke-Smith