Climate Minister Greg Barker
today (March 20) announced that the flagship Green Deal initiative is on track to be launched to the market in October.
was speaking at the EcoBuild exhibition and conference in London and promised to deliver a "brand new market and opportunities for industry".
He added that it had the potential to drive significant economic growth and job creation as growing numbers of households and offices take advantage of a financing mechanism that allows them to improve their properties at no upfront cost.
The government has been criticised by Opposition MPs and the industry because many firms are still awaiting important details on the legislation governing the scheme, despite it being due to launch in October.
Barker announced several changes to the scheme's administration details, following an industry consultation.
This includes the removal of the requirements for official Green Deal Providers to have a surety bond in place before they are authorised, and of the rule requiring providers to fund an Independent Conciliation Service. Instead, there will be a new Green Deal Ombudsman capable of handling complaints.
Barker also hinted the Green Deal scheme would support a wider range of different green technologies than had been previously expected.
"No longer will every discussion on energy efficiency focus solely on the insulation industry," he said. "The Green Deal has been designed to finance the installation of a broad range of measures across the energy efficiency market.The heating, glazing, lighting and microgeneration industries will all be able to use this innovative financing mechanism."
Barker also promised that a host of further announcements would be made before the Green Deal starts in the autumn, including clarification on how new technologies could be added to the scheme, the launch of an advisory line next month, further details on supporting skills development programmes, and news on how the £200m of funding promised last year by the Chancellor will be used to incentivise the early roll out of Green Deal improvements.
The government has faced criticism for failing to provide details on how it plans to promote the scheme and incentivise households and businesses to take part.