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Abandoning GHG must pave way for improved energy efficiency scheme in Spending Review, says EAC

21 April 2021

In response to the recent Government announcement ending the Green Homes Grant scheme, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has written to the Business Secretary calling for clarity for contractors and homeowners.

Despite the EAC calling for the Green Homes Grant to be urgently overhauled and extended within its recent report, Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes, it appears the Government has failed to consider the report’s recommendations. A week after report publication, the Government announced its intention to end the scheme, directly rejecting the EAC’s recommendation for the scheme not to be scrapped or quietly wound down.

UK homes account for 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and with 19 million homes failing to achieve EPC rating C, there is a pressing need to make homes more energy efficient. The EAC looks forward to the Heat and Building Strategy and what provisions may be made for a multi-year energy efficiency programme within the next Spending Review.

The EAC welcomes the increased funding and extended timescale for the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant and for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. However, as expressed within its report, the EAC stressed that this would only be effective in areas where local authorities have appropriate resource and capacity, otherwise a ‘postcode lottery’ is likely to ensue.

Chair's comments

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:

“We have been clear all along: the Green Homes Grant was a good initiative but was poorly implemented.

“This Government has shown its willingness to be an environmental world leader, but I fear its green credentials risk being undermined by poor policy decisions. Actions speak louder than words, and simply abandoning a critically important decarbonisation scheme when cracks appeared sets a poor example in the year we aim to show climate leadership.

“Cutting emissions starts at home. The homes we live in contribute a huge amount of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, so undertaking effective retrofits and stemming those emissions is key to reaching net zero by 2050. Businesses need to get behind low-carbon housing and have the confidence to upskill employees. Householders need to get behind low-carbon housing and understand how energy efficiency can be enhanced and heating costs cut. Above all, the Government must get behind low-carbon housing and comprehend the complexity of decarbonising our housing stock, committing to initiatives essential to make net zero Britain a reality.”

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