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Government Green Deal gets local backing
A FLAGSHIP Government policy designed to slash household energy bills has been welcomed by campaigners and the borough council’s environment chief.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change unveiled details of its Green Deal on Monday.
Under the scheme, residents can install hundreds of pounds worth of energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation or window double-glazing without paying upfront.
Instead, initial costs are covered by a loan from the Government-backed Green Deal Finance Company.
Loan repayments are then added to the cost of a householder's electricity bill with an interest rate of 6.9 per cent.
Councillor Robert Donnell, borough council Cabinet member for the environment and climate change, welcomed the Government plan.
“It is a great new initiative,” he said. “It can make a real and sensible difference both for the environment and people’s fuel bills.
“I would urge everybody to look seriously at the scheme, like I am doing myself.”
The Green Deal hinges on a “golden rule” which is that repayments are lower than the amount saved from using less gas, electricity, or oil to power a home.
Ed Davey, Secretary of State for energy and climate change, said: “More and more families are being hit by the rising cost of fuel bills, and the best way people can protect themselves from increased costs is to use less energy.
“This is where the Green Deal comes in, giving people a new way to pay for energy saving home improvements.”
There are 45 different improvements covered by the Green Deal. These range from simple measures such as draught proofing and loft insulation to more hi-tech projects of solar panels, small electricity-generating windmills or biomass boilers. To take part in the scheme, a home is first reviewed by an accredited assessor. They will look at what upgrades can be made and over what time period energy savings would cover the cost of the work.
Green Deal Providers then quote for the work and households can get multiple quotes for some or all of it.
If a resident goes ahead, a Green Deal Installer will carry out the work.
Martin Heath, from the environment campaign group Basingstoke Transition Network, said the Green Deal is a good first step, but he stressed that more needs to be done.
“It is a good thing,” said Martin, from Brookvale. “The UK’s homes are some of the worst in Europe. The Green Deal is good for residents, but we need to do more.
“The issue is that it is hugely complicated. To get people to understand fully is quite a task. The 6.9 per cent interest on the loan is probably too much for most householders – I think it should be more in the region of four per cent.
“It is something to be supportive of, but we have to still do more in this borough.”
For more information, visit gov.uk/ green-deal-energy-saving-measures.