The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that it has opened a second phase of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) with an extra £100 million of funding.
The second phase follows the shock closure of the GDHIF scheme in July, after “overwhelming public demand” meant that the allocated budget for the scheme was used up.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “Green Deal Home Improvement Fund vouchers went like hot cakes earlier in the year and now even more people can cut their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.”
Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association welcomed the move, stating: “Following the significant reduction in insulation activity under ECO after cuts were announced by government in July and the closure of the initial GDHIF after just six weeks, we have been urging government to inject additional funding into the GDHIF this winter to help hard-pressed households reduce their energy bills and stay warm. We are therefore delighted that government has listened and responded by announcing an additional £100m today.”
John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, also welcomed the second phase but warned that more must be done, he said: “As temperatures start to drop and households turn up their heating, this additional funding is a timely – but ultimately temporary – solution to encouraging energy efficiency.”
Alker continued: “There’s no doubt that the Lib Dems understand the importance of home retrofit, and Ed Davey should be applauded for securing the cash from Treasury. But we need to move beyond stop-start incentives which damage business confidence. This funding could see us through to the General Election, but what happens after that? All parties must recognise that home energy efficiency is an infrastructure priority, with public investment needed to support the most vulnerable and to create the confidence for the private sector to scale up investment over the long term.”
Marshall echoed calls to ensure energy efficiency is given more priority by the government, he said: “We need to go beyond short-term, stop start schemes and incentives and put in place a long-term plan and funding mechanism if we are to insulate the UK housing stock in a timely manner. With over 7 million homes having inadequate loft insulation, over 5 million that require cavity wall insulation and almost 8 million homes that need solid wall Insulation we need to significantly strengthen energy efficiency policies and programmes.”
DECC states the second phase of the GDHIF will be open for applications before the end of November.
Earlier this year, the Energy and Climate Change committee labelled the Green Deal a ‘failure’ thanks to a combination of financial, behavioural and communication barriers that conspired to dissuade customers from taking up the Green Deal.