Environment

Solely 43,000 properties made greener by grant scheme that aimed to ‘assist 600,000’



Solely 43,000 properties have been made greener by a now-closed authorities enchancment scheme – 7 per cent of the entire it was supposed to assist.

Ministers stated inexperienced properties grant vouchers would enhance the vitality effectivity of greater than 600,000 homes in England when the initiative launched.

Official knowledge reveals 43,166 homes have made inexperienced modifications to their properties utilizing the scheme as of early January, round 10 months after functions closed. In complete, 76,600 vouchers for enhancements have been issued.

Environmental teams stated the scheme had been a “failure” and “ill-conceived”, whereas the Inexperienced Get together referred to as it a “shambles from the beginning”.

Underneath the scheme, householders may get vouchers to partially or absolutely fund inexperienced enhancements reminiscent of insulation, double or triple glazing and low-carbon heating reminiscent of warmth pumps. The federal government stated these measures may assist households save as much as £600 a yr on vitality payments.

Figures revealed on Thursday present 113,700 households utilized throughout the six month utility window, which ran from autumn 2020 to spring 2021.

Tens of 1000’s had requests rejected, whereas over 20,000 noticed their vouchers – that are legitimate for 3 months – expire.

As of seven January, simply over 43,000 homes had put in no less than one inexperienced residence enchancment utilizing vouchers. This was 7 per cent of the 600,000 properties the Division for Enterprise, Power and Industrial Technique (BEIS) stated the scheme would assist when it launched in autumn 2020.

Cara Jenkinson from the local weather charity Ashden informed The Unbiased: “We aren’t stunned by these disappointing numbers.” She stated the scheme was “ill-conceived from the beginning”, with “unrealistic” timelines and poor administration.

Ashden’s cities supervisor added: “What’s much more disappointing is that there’s nonetheless no alternative scheme, leaving the UK falling additional behind on carbon discount targets, and extra house owners uncovered to ever-rising vitality payments.”

Hundreds of thousands are anticipated to see family payments rise once more in spring, with estimates they might rise by as much as 50 per cent.

Kate Blagojevic from Greenpeace informed The Unbiased: “As vitality costs rocket skywards, it’s change into an increasing number of obvious what a catastrophe this botched scheme was. The only greatest technique to shield households from unstable fuel costs is to make their properties vitality environment friendly so they should use much less fuel.”

She added: “Nonetheless, the federal government’s shoddy dealing with of the scheme meant it was a failure and now hard-working households are being pressured to pay the worth.”

The scheme funded householders as much as two-thirds of the price of inexperienced residence enhancements, as much as £5,000, and absolutely funded work as much as £10,000 for low-income households.

It was initially because of finish on 31 March 2021 earlier than being prolonged by a yr. This resolution was later reversed – sparking backlash from environmental teams – and folks had been informed functions would shut inside days.

Carla Denyer, the co-leader of the Inexperienced Get together, informed The Unbiased: “The inexperienced properties grant has been a shambles from the beginning and reveals how Boris Johnson’s authorities is failing us on each the local weather emergency and the price of residing disaster.”

A BEIS spokesperson stated: “The inexperienced properties grant was all the time a short lived scheme out there to householders in England who selected to use, and designed as a short-term financial stimulus.”

They added: “Whereas that specific scheme has now closed, we’re investing virtually £6.6bn to assist folks to put in vitality effectivity measures throughout the nation, in addition to different assist just like the £450m boiler improve scheme to assist households swap to extra environment friendly heating programs.”

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