Incentives needed for green deal

Published:  10 December, 2010

LONDON: Government attempts to upgrade house insulation to help meet carbon dioxide emissions targets will fail without more incentives say business and consumer groups.

The green deal, to be published today as part of the energy bill, is a key plank in the government's plan to improve energy efficiency as it seeks to reduce the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the deal, consumers and businesses will be encouraged to make their premises more energy efficient at no upfront cost by paying through a charge on their energy bill. The charge is intended to be less than the savings made by the improvements. The measures are aimed at lowering heat loss from houses that account for a quarter of UK carbon dioxide emissions.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of Kingfisher, said the deal "has the potential to revolutionise the home energy efficiency market" but business needed "a broad set of incentives to achieve real change and these could include lower VAT on green products and reductions in council tax".

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: "It is critical that the finance is provided at sufficiently low interest rates to make it attractive for consumers and to ensure they can access a range of technologies."

Householders need to be given "a clear signal they will be expected to refurbish their homes, either with fiscal incentives that link rates of stamp duty or council tax to the level of energy efficiency or say people won't be able to rent or sell their home until it meets a minimum standard", he said.

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