The government’s Green Homes Grant scheme will help just 8% of its target 600,000 households switch to renewable energy by the end of March this year.
That’s according to new analysis published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit ahead of the withdrawal of the £2bn scheme next month.
The thinktank found that, at the current rate, it would have issued vouchers to just 49,000 members of the public by that time – equating to an annual carbon saving of 26,000 tonnes, or 0.4% of UK residential sector emissions.
For the 2021-22 period, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said £320m, a significantly smaller amount than the initial £2bn, will be made available to homeowners for the Green Homes Grant Programme.
At the current rate of approval, that would mean 124,000 households would be given grants to make their homes more energy efficient and less carbon intensive by March 2022 – around 20% of the initial figure of 600,000.
The grants for England were promoted by Boris Johnson as a key tenet of his 10-point plan for a green recovery.
Forty per cent of UK emissions come from households, and the government promised the programme would help 600,000 householders cut energy bills and CO2 emissions while supporting 100,000 jobs.
Householders can apply for vouchers of up to £5,000 or £10,000, depending on their circumstances, to help pay for installation of new heating systems and insulation.
Jess Ralston, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “It’s staggering to see the effects that pulling the green homes grant would have on the number of homes upgraded.
“It will be hugely disappointing to the hundreds of thousands of families set to miss out.
“The original aims – creating jobs, slashing energy bills and reducing carbon emissions – haven’t yet been met. Cutting support now will damage trust in future schemes without delivering any of these objectives.”
Read more on the Green Homes Grant:
- Homeowners frustrated by ‘postcode lottery’ of Green Homes Grant
- Green Homes Grant gets more than 1,000 sign-ups
- Green Homes Grant scheme must ensure quality home insulation, say campaigners
Delays in issuing vouchers and paying installers have left many installers out of pocket.
Many have pulled out of the scheme, and some householders have waited more than five months for the grants to install heat pumps and solar thermals to replace fossil fuel heating systems.
Members of the renewable energy industry have written to ministers calling for the green home grants to be maintained and enhanced as a key measure for reaching net-zero by 2050.
The signatories – from 19 organisations representing or working within the energy efficiency and low-carbon heating sector – said premature withdrawal of the grants would put jobs in jeopardy, upset homeowners, and put the UK’s net-zero target at risk.
‘Stable policy needed’
Derek Horrocks, chair of the National Insulation Association, said: “Stable policy is needed to provide the industry with the confidence it needs to invest and adapt to the demands of the net-zero transition.
“Inquiries for insulation and low-carbon heating have been extremely high, in spite of the current circumstances, and companies across the sector have responded and geared up the supply chain to meet demand.
“That’s why we would urge the chancellor not to curtail the green homes grant to ensure that our sector can lead the UK’s economic recovery and meet the government’s net-zero ambitions.”
Image: Kurteev Gennadii/Shutterstock
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