Yes, the heading should be the other way round but that is precisely what the Green Deal has become under this government.
If you cast your mind back to when it was launched with such fanfare in January 2013, many of us really believed that the scheme was going to have the best of all worlds. Those involved in providing the services and products would benefit from additional business and the end user would be living in energy efficient households.
By September of that year, the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) was already voicing its concern as only 51 window installations out of almost 195,000 measures had been undertaken. Nigel Rees, Chief Executive of the GGF, said the Green Deal and the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) was “simply not working for the glass and glazing industry.
He tried to remain positive but mentioned an aspect that has been at the heart of the scheme’s principal failure in that the industry “would like to see the scheme become less complicated and also offer better incentives to homeowners and installers.”
But what happened after that? The bureaucratic structure has led many to distraction and to look elsewhere to provide greater energy efficiency for end users without having to jump through so many hoops.
We have had the farce this summer with the availability of £120 million in June, only for the fund to run out of money in a month and for it to close without any warning. Heads should have rolled, including Ed Davey, Secretary of State, who announced this most recent £100 million – one hopes the term can still be used when talking about a debacle like this.
The government is far from proving Prime Minister David Cameron’s boast that it would be “the greenest ever”. He said this back in 2010 when he went to introduce himself and others to civil servants in the Department for Energy and Climate Change. “There is a fourth minister in this department who cares passionately about this agenda and that is me, the prime minister, right. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
As many a cynical civil service mandarin probably sighed under his breath at hearing those words: “Yes, Prime Minister.”
Caption It all seemed to start with the best of intentions but the government’s Green Deal has been reduced to looking like a dog’s dinner, or in this image, a sow’s ear.