Government’s extension to retrofit scheme as part of Green Industrial Revolution announcement welcomed, but there are calls for longer term certainty around retrofit going forward.
The government has announced that the Green Homes Grant scheme has been extended by a year. The scheme, which was launched in September and offers homeowners grants of up to £5,000 for selected measures, including insulation, to carry out energy efficient upgrades to their homes, was due to end on March 31st 2021, but has now been extended until 2022.
The news came as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution for 25,000 jobs announcement today (18th November) which states: Homes and public buildings: £1 billion next year into making new and existing homes and public buildings more efficient, extending the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme by a year and making public sector buildings greener and cutting bills for hospitals and schools, as part of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
Since its launch, the Green Homes Grant scheme has come under scrutiny for both the timescale of the scheme and capacity in terms of the number of qualified installers to carry out the work to the correct standards as part of a sector that was already operating at capacity.
The extension to the scheme has been welcomed by many in construction, but there are still calls for government to go further and provide “certainty” for its plans around retrofit going forward.
James Talman, Chief Executive of the NFRC, explained: “The decision to extend the Green Homes Grant by a further year is a welcome relief for the industry. The previous timescale was completely unrealistic when many firms needed time to get the relevant accreditations, and most contractors and suppliers were already operating at full capacity. The government should now set out its future intentions on retrofit, beyond the next year, to give longer-term certainty to the market.”
Likewise, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of FMB, commented: “The extension of the Green Homes Grant for another year is very positive news, and shows that builders’ concerns have been listened to. This will give the reassurance needed to the building industry to invest in the scheme. However, the Green Revolution needs to be more ambitious about the built environment if the government is serious about creating a low carbon economy.”
Berry continued: “Our existing homes contribute 20% of all our carbon emissions and consume 35% of our energy. A long-term retrofit strategy is needed over the next two decades to make all our existing homes more energy efficient. Such a strategy has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and save the NHS as much as £2 billion because of the cost of people living in poor housing conditions.”
Berry concluded: “The start of the Green Industrial Revolution has huge potential to improve everyone’s lives, but tacking all our homes to make them greener and more energy efficient has to be an immediate priority and this requires a long-term strategy.”