Energy minister Greg Barker has urged councils to become ‘agents’ for energy efficiency following the launch of the government’s landmark Green Deal programme.
Speaking before the plan’s January 28 launch, Baker said local authorities would be vital to the success of the scheme by ‘urging’ local people to use it.
Under the programme, which has been in development since 2011, residents are allowed to have several energy efficiency home improvements carried out at no upfront cost. The initial funds are met by investors in The Green Deal Finance Company, supplemented by a £1.3bn annual energy obligation from the Big Six energy companies.
The costs of improvements – such as installing more energy-efficient boilers and solid wall insulation, as well as solar panels – will then be paid back through each homes’ energy bills. Town halls can either act as direct providers of the programme in their area, as partners with others, or simply promote the plan to residents with no direct involvement.
A number of authorities have already launched schemes to roll out the Green Deal in their areas after the government provided £22m of start-up funding for the programme to 150 local authorities to drive initial projects.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change added that a number of councils also have ‘big programmes’ they will be unveiling once the scheme has been launched.
Barker urged councils to be proactive in advocating take-up of the deal now that the programme has been launched.
‘Some of our biggest agents for change [so far] are the large metropolitan authorities, who are already working with us in preparing to offer the Green Deal to hundreds of thousands of their local residents, and they are focusing on the fuel-poor first,’ he said. ‘They have already spotted this is a great deal for the fuel-poor, and are going to be urging the residents to take it up.’