All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has been looking into the Green Deal and yesterday published its findings.
Its report, Re-energising the green agenda, says that the government’s flagship green policy urgently needs to be reviewed.
It also says that the Green Construction Board needs to have a clearer role, suggesting that not many people know what it does or why it exists.
The report says: “We certainly applaud the government for introducing the Green Deal, but we feel it is time to take another look at the detail, make it work for social housing, galvanise the schemes locally across the country and make financial incentives permanent,” the report says. “The concern is that in the current form the Green Deal and Energy Companies Obligation will deliver fewer carbon emissions reductions than the policies they replaced.”
The 36-page report also advocates greater clarity from government. It says: “Despite setting out ambitious targets, the government has been sending mixed messages about its commitment to the green agenda. This has been particularly apparent over the delay to the revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations covering energy efficiency, and the slow progress on establishing how zero carbon will be met for domestic buildings in 2016. In recent years unexpected changes to the feed-in-tariffs also caused consternation and undermined confidence in the construction sector.”
The report makes seven recommendations to government, which include:
• Making retrofit more financially attractive including looking at ways in which it can reduce the interest rate on the Green Deal, which is likely to be through underwriting the financing, in much the same way as it has done with the new-build mortgages. It might also consider introducing additional incentives, including stamp duty and/or council taxes linked to energy efficiency (which could be fiscally neutral), which are looking necessary to galvanise the Green Deal take-up.
• Bolstering the Green Construction Board to make it a more transparent organisation that could provide a construction industry focal point for delivery and action. The report says it needs to be made clear also what its relationship is with the new Construction Leadership Council and transparent reporting lines set out. The Green Construction Board is a government-funded panel set up in November 2011 to advise on policies relating to green construction.
• Setting up an Existing Homes Hub, along the lines of the Zero Carbon Homes Hub, to engage with industry on sustainability issues and provide a neutral space for the industry and DECC to work together and deal with non-Green Deal retrofit issues as well.
Group chairman Oliver Colvile, who is Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, said: “The world faces significant environmental challenges, and to help combat them our government needs to ensure Britain plays its part in reducing CO2 emissions; make our homes more energy efficient; reduce the costs of heating our homes; help combat fuel poverty and meet our required energy needs.
“We hope this report sends a clear message to government to reaffirm and re-energise its commitment to the delivery of the sustainable agenda in construction and the built environment and in doing so, provide clarity and certainty to help industry play its part in turning policies into success stories. The potential to create jobs at home and export our new skills and expertise in this field abroad is a prize in itself.”
The secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment is provided by the Construction Industry Council. The report can be found at www.cic.org.uk/admin/resources/sustainable-construction-and-the-green-deal-report.pdf