The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report of its review into the Green Homes Grant (GHG).
According to the report, once all current applications have been processed, the scheme will have carried out energy efficiency upgrades in 47,500 homes, a fraction of the 600,000 households that were expected to benefit from the scheme.
The report acknowledged the government’s desire to act quickly to generate economic benefits in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
However, ultimately, the rushed implementation and delivery of the GHG significantly reduced any impact it may have had on decarbonisation targets and job creation, leaving homeowners and installers frustrated and despondent.
Griff Thomas, Managing Director of GTEC shares his thoughts on the NAO’s findings and recommendations for future energy schemes:
“The findings of the NAO report are disappointing but not surprising. We know that the decarbonisation of domestic buildings is a complex but urgent task and will contribute significantly to our national carbon reduction targets. However, if old mistakes are repeated and lessons not learned, the government risks losing the trust of homeowners and installers.
“The report highlighted a lack of accredited installers as a key barrier to participation in the scheme. Without a secure base of renewable heating installers, these schemes will never get off the ground.
“We need more resources directed towards upskilling existing heating installers in low-carbon technologies, such as heat pumps and solar thermal. With the Future Homes Standard on the horizon, gaining these skills will benefit installers and the government far beyond any short-term consumer initiatives – a worthy investment for everyone involved.
“But the value of heating installers’ experience goes beyond the quality of their work. They have a unique first-hand experience of this industry that is vital to any planning process. To ensure future success, we need a joined-up approach with input from renewable energy experts, training providers, trade associations and installers considered from day one.”
Gareth Davies, head of the NAO said:
“The aim to achieve immediate economic stimulus through the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme meant that it was rushed. As a result, its benefits for carbon reduction were significantly reduced and ultimately, it did not create the number of jobs government had hoped for.
“Decarbonising our homes is a key element of the government’s net zero strategy. It is vital that future schemes learn from this experience.”
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