The £2 billion programme to upgrade the UK’s inefficient housing stock will likely launch at the end of September, with tradespeople required to sign up to the TrustMark accreditation scheme to participate, the government confirmed Monday.
Under the Green Homes Grant scheme, the government will issue homeowners and landlords in England vouchers of up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency improvements, including loft and wall insulation and double glazing.
Low-income households and fuel poor households, including those in rented accommodation, can qualify for grants of up to £10,000 to make the improvements. £500 million of the scheme is set aside specifically for these households, with local authorities allowed to bid for a share of this funding.
The government also published a list of the upgrades which will qualify for the grants. These include
Meanwhile, the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) service will offer homeowners in England advice and support on improving the energy efficiency of their homes and accessing the scheme.
The scheme will be administered through an official government website, which will provide applicants with a list of local tradespeople who can carry out the suggested work.
To give homeowners assurance that the work is being carried out by qualified people, tradespeople will need to register for TrustMark or MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) accreditation to participate in the scheme.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the Green Home Grants scheme is expected to improve the energy efficiency of 600,000 households while creating an estimated 100,000 jobs in green construction. It’s also expected to save households up to £600 a year on their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions by as much as 700kg a year.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Green home improvements will save people money on their energy bills, help to cut carbon emissions, and create new work for many thousands of builders, plumbers and other tradespeople.
"Our TrustMark scheme will guarantee that building work is completed to a high standard by accredited tradespeople, ensuring consumers are fully protected."
The scheme has been welcomed by environmental groups and the building industry.
Mike Thornton, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, hailed the scheme as "a significant investment by the government in energy efficiency which will provide long term benefits to householders and the environment by cutting fuel bills and reducing carbon emissions.”
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said the scheme is "a really welcome boost for the building industry as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19.”
However, concerns have been raised about how quickly the £2 billion funding will dry up. Previous grant schemes have exhausted their budget within weeks. The government is also facing questions about longer-term plans to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock, including its manifesto pledge to commit £9.2 billion to efficiency upgrades and the long-promised Future Homes Standard, which is supposed to enforce tight environmental restrictions on the building of new homes. The efficiency and carbon footprints of the UK’s future buildings may be under threat with the government’s announcement this week that it will radically overhaul the planning process, giving new homes “automatic” planning permission.
Meanwhile, consumers are being cautioned about a rash of scammers already bandying the Green Home Grants name in an attempt to steal personal data. The scheme has yet to launch, will be run through a government website and won’t involve cold calling.
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