This week, the UK government announced it would be scrapping the beleaguered Green Homes Grant scheme. Launched at the end of last summer after just seven months, the scheme was intended to subsidise the retrofitting of homes, so as to make them energy-efficient and help the UK reduce its CO2 emissions. 

Households  were offered a subsidy of two thirds of the cost of retrofitting, up to £5,000, which could help cover insulation, ‘low carbon heat’, such as heat pumps, draft proofing and double glazing. According to one report, bureaucratic inefficiencies have caused the scheme to be scrapped. Even the green lobbyists who campaigned for it said it was marked by ‘staggering ineptitude’ and ‘incompetent administration’, and was ‘shambolic’ and ‘botched’.

This is not the first catastrophic policy failure of this kind. In 2009, Gordon Brown announced a ‘green new deal’, which would create 400,000 ‘green jobs’ in the new ‘environmental sector’. He claimed that by 2017 there would be 1.3million such jobs. It was welcome news in a recession-hit UK at a time when unemployment had hit two million. 

‘Under the Great British Refurb we aim to have every loft and cavity wall in the country insulated by 2015 and smart meters in every home by 2020’, Brown claimed. The newly formed Department for Energy and Climate Change added the detail: ‘At least seven million homes will have been offered “whole-house” upgrades with energy efficiency and micro-generation technologies by 2020, and every home by 2030 – virtually eliminating carbon emissions from our homes.’

Next came the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which was just as keen on pursuing Brown’s vision. At the 2010 Liberal Democrat party conference, energy and climate change minister Chris Huhne announced a ‘green deal’ which would ‘create a whole new industry of up to 250,000 jobs, working on 26million homes’. ‘The green deal will be a revolution’, said Huhne, ‘the first scheme of its kind in the developed world, the most ambitious energy-saving plan ever put forward – a once and for all re-fit that will make every home in Britain ready for a low-carbon future’. 

It took the coalition more than two years to get the scheme up and running, and, when it was eventually launched in January 2013, it failed to impress consumers. Not least because it allowed households to take out loans for energy-efficiency measures attached to the house, rather than to its owners. The next Conservative government shelved the scheme in July 2015. In its two-and-a-half years of existence, just 15,000 homes had taken up the offer.

 All these scheme failures should tell the government that the public does not share its emissions-reduction ambitions and broader green ideology.  They rejected Brown’s eco-town Utopianism. And they also rejected the coalition’s green loans. The public manifestly have not volunteered to decarbonise their homes, despite the government’s subsidies. Why should we want to spend substantial sums to improve our insulation. Such an investment will only make a marginal difference to our heating bills. We are even less likely to voluntarily change our perfectly satisfactory gas central heating system. Most of us simply do not believe there is a climate crisis or likely to be one in our lifetime. 

When the government finally understands this then my fear is that they will turn to more ‚persuasive‘ methods.  By that I mean they will force up the cost of gas until it is so expensive that we will be forced to do as we are told. Before that we need a political party to stop pandering to green ideology and stand up for the people.

via climate science


April 2, 2021 at 03:33PM