Responding to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation consultation, the Construction Products Association has acknowledged the enormous potential Green Deal could bring in improving the energy performance of UK buildings, but gave a cautionary warning that there were some fundamental issues that still needed to be addressed.
Responding to the consultation, John Tebbit Industry Affairs Director at the Association said: ‘We all know that Green Deal has the potential to be a real game changer, but government must accept this is a long-term solution and not a quick fix opportunity.
‘It is essential that the Green Deal allows new companies and organisations into the market, such as distributors, builders, manufacturers and installers. This will avoid any one part of the supply chain enjoying a dominant position in energy efficiency work; it will bring greater competition and encourage diversity.
‘There must also be a process for ensuring product and installation quality allows innovative products and solutions to be introduced to the market whilst ensuring performance. Products and systems that already meet British and European standards, or are certified to reputable third party schemes, must not face additional testing or registration costs.
To make the Green Deal work, targeted fiscal incentives will need to be brought in and the Association has long held the view that a reduction in VAT to 5 per cent, both on Green Deal work and Green Deal equivalent energy efficiency work, is vital to send the right signals to the consumer as well as making the Golden Rule more achievable.
‘The Association welcomes the proposal for a cash back scheme for homeowners, based on the degree of improvement as measured by EPCs. However, in the longer term the government should base the level of stamp duty for the purchase of homes both on price and EPC rating. Such a system is already used with company car tax where both price and CO2 emissions set the taxable benefits and this has radically changed company car choice over a number of years. There seems to be no reason why such a dual price and environmental performance based system, could not have the same impact on home purchases, albeit over a longer period of time.
‘Finally, there must be further work carried out on a transition process between the existing CERT scheme and ECO. As things stand, there will be a catastrophic collapse in cavity wall and loft insulation work at the end of this year when the CERT scheme finishes. It is essential that the new ECO arrangements provide for a short period of continued support for cavity wall and loft insulation, whilst the Green Deal becomes established.’