Ministers ‘could save £2bn by merging green energy schemes’

16 Jul 09
Streamlining green energy schemes would free £2bn to fund a national home insulation plan, councils have said.
By Vivienne Russell

16 July 2009

Streamlining green energy schemes would free £2bn to fund a national home insulation plan, councils have said.

The Local Government Association urged the government to merge the numerous schemes aimed at cutting carbon emissions into a single £7bn fund. The call came as the Department for Energy and Climate Change published its energy white paper on July 15.

LGA environment board chair Paul Bettison said: ‘Lagging lofts is a fast, effective way of helping people cut their fuel bills but at the moment many homes are missing out. Too much money is being wasted on a raft of green schemes and people who need help insulating their homes are not getting it.. A national insulation programme would dramatically reduce carbon emissions and harness the desire of householders to make their homes more energy efficient.’

He added that councils, through their knowledge of local areas and strong connections with households, should be in the vanguard of such efforts.

The white paper plots out how the government will reduce carbon emissions by 34% of 1990 levels by 2020. The government also published its renewable energy strategy, setting out how the government plans to achieve its target of getting 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: ‘‘This is a transition plan for Britain, a route-map to 2020, with carbon savings expected across every sector and a carbon budget assigned to every government department alongside its financial budget.

'Renewables, nuclear and clean fossil fuels are the trinity of low carbon and the future of energy in Britain. Under our plans, we will get 40% of our electricity from low-carbon energy by 2020 and more in the years afterwards.’

The Local Government Information Unit this week warned that councils were not well prepared to meet forthcoming carbon reduction targets.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment, due to be introduced next April, places a mandatory carbon ‘cap and trade’ scheme on more than 5,000 public and private sector organisations, including local authorities.

The LGIU has been running a virtual version of the scheme and said that much remained to be done if councils were not to fall foul of the fines to be imposed for failure  to comply with the CRC.

Gemma Bradshaw, a policy analyst at the LGIU’s Centre for Local Sustainability, said: ‘‘We were pleased to see councils throw themselves into our innovative carbon trading project and 14 councils made significant reductions in their carbon emissions over the year.

'But Carbon trading isn’t easy and most councils simply do not have the processes in place to fully comply with the scheme, and emerging detail in the CRC has the potential to make life more difficult still.’     

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