Green Deal: Worcester says funding end paves way for ‘flexible regulation’

Green Deal: Worcester says funding end paves way for ‘flexible regulation’

Neil Schofield, Head of Governmental and External Affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, argues that the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) decision to cease funding for the Green Deal should prompt renewed focus on smarter regulation for the heating industry.

It is no real surprise to see the Green Deal effectively scrapped before it ever really took off, in a month where we’ve already seen the Government indicate cuts to the Feed-in Tariff and the end of its zero carbon homes policy. The question now is which scheme will be next to follow – the RHI or ECO?

While the intention behind the Green Deal may have been positive, the complexity it added to the supply chain, its unappealing interest rate, and the way in which it marginalised our network of heating engineers made success very unlikely. At a time when the Conservatives are still finding their feet on energy policy and are under pressure to reduce spending, it was always going to be difficult to justify a future for a scheme so many had already written off as a failure. In this respect, it is hard not to agree with the Government’s decision to axe what was originally hailed as its “flagship household energy efficiency programme”.

Given the need to reduce household bills without increasing spending, DECC now has to find a way to introduce regulation which use market forces to their advantage. The decision to make condensing boilers mandatory remains the most effective fuel, energy and CO2 saving legislation of all time, yet that was now over a decade ago. Moving forward, we need a Government that is willing to build on previous successes by talking to the industry and being flexible with its drip-feeding of regulation.

What will replace the Green Deal remains to be seen, however our wider industry is faced with a huge opportunity to optimise use of the existing gas network by continuing to improve boilers, and steadily introducing smart controls and other low-carbon technologies. What we need the Government to remember amidst so many cuts is that not all regulation is bad.

With the right support from Government, there is no reason why building-related industries can’t work together to keep energy efficiency high on the agenda.


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