Green Deal scheme too complex say town hall chiefs

The Green Deal was too complex and "didn’t quite speak to residents", according to the deputy chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA).

Speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, Cllr Peter Fleming, who is also leader of Sevenoaks District Council, said local authorities saw very little take up from residents for the home improvement scheme.

Cllr Fleming said an LGA survey had revealed ‘no or low demand’ in 85% of councils.

“I think we go back to the complexity of the Deal itself, and some of the risks involved,” said Cllr Fleming.

“We saw figures that were the complete opposite around things like Warm Front, where there was more flexibility and it was easier to vocalize what the scheme was.

“The Green Deal might have sounded great on paper, but it was difficult for us to really sell it to residents.”

Speaking about previous energy efficiency schemes generally, he added: “I think residents have found some of the schemes particularly complex and difficult to access.

“That’s been a barrier in helping councils talk to residents about the schemes they could have taken up. I think we need to ensure any future schemes are simpler to understand and also simpler for local authorities to communicate to residents. It has to be a simpler system,” said Cllr Fleming.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues