‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after.
According to the latest figures from DECC, the Green Deal is gathering momentum.
The government’s flagship environmental initiative was launched on 28 January – finally, – to a slow start, with only 1,729 assessments carried out in February.
In fact, saying that the scheme was launched in January is slightly disingenuous. The scheme had actually been open to households since October. From the beginning of that month, householders could arrange to have their homes assessed to see if they could save money by implementing energy-saving measures. It’s just that they couldn’t actually get any finance of work done until the end of January.
It’s clear why the Government prefers to “forget” the October launch – it was rubbish. There was no publicity, householders had no idea about the scheme and, hence, had booked zero assessments by the end of the year.
But happily, thanks to the “massive” Government-funded Green Deal advertising campaign (they spent more on telling us about the digital TV switchover by the way), it looks like the message is getting through.
The stats up to April 11 show a total of 9,268 Green Deal assessments lodged so far. That’s up from 1,803 at end of February (with 7,465 in March alone, compared to 1,729 in February).
And on the GD Assessor side, there are now 108 Green Deal Assessor Organisations, employing 1,003 Green Deal Advisors that have now been accredited. Again, those figures show an increase, up from 77 and 618 at end February respectively.
DECC also says that £68.9 million worth of contracts had been let through the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) brokerage system, compared to £26.9 million at end February.
So, it’s a start. And there are plenty of merchants out there who are gearing up to make sure they play their part in it. Every time I stopped by the Plumb Center stand at Ecobuild it was rammed with installers all listening to head of sustainability Tim Pollard explaining how they could get involved.
Tim’s enthusiastic about the Green Deal – as he is about most things. He says: “DECC’s latest update is really encouraging. In the last few months the Green Deal has really started to take off and we hope the enthusiasm for it continues.”
I know I’ve been horribly cynical about this scheme since Grant Shapps first announced it at the CPA lunch when he was still in opposition. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if he hadn’t talked about people being able to pay off their energy-efficiency improvement loan when they buy their socks at M&S I’d have taken it a bit more seriously from the start.
Still, with a whole 1,003 Green Deal Assessors accredited, the retro-fitting of all those under-insulated homes is going to be no problem.
What do you mean, there are 26 million of them?