Council Squeezes Last Drops from Government’s Green Funding Stream

Nottingham City Council has secured £5m of Government money to improve the energy efficiency of over 1300 homes, ahead of the funding stream being turned off.

The council will use the Green Deal Communities funding to deliver external wall insulation to owner occupier homes in Nobel Road and Lenton Abbey – but it’s likely to be the last scheme it can fund this way, after the Government blamed ‘low take-up’ for ending its support.

Nottingham City Council has secured one of the highest shares of all UK councils of the Green Deal Communities funding, using it to deliver schemes such as the Clifton external wall insulation scheme in 2013, where thousands of hard-to-heat solid wall properties – both owner occupier and council homes – received external wall insulation. Clifton became the largest estate in Europe to receive the wall insulation on such a huge scale, with over 4,000 homes benefitting.

However, the Government’s Green Deal scheme now has an uncertain future after the Government announced it will not make any further funding available through the Green Deal Finance Company, which was set up to help householders and businesses improve the energy efficiency of properties across the UK. Without the financial support of the Government, this finance company will not continue to operate. This means that energy efficiency measures paid for with loans capped to the savings made and repaid through energy bills, will no longer be available.

Nottingham City Council is committed to help reduce fuel costs for the city’s residents, with a pledge to help citizens to reduce their energy use by 10%. Over 40,000 social and private homes have already benefitted from council-led energy efficiency interventions, including solar panels, external wall insulation, loft insulation and new boilers, with more council schemes in the pipeline.

Councillor Alan Clark, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability, said: “This news comes on the back of a series of disappointing Government announcements to state the withdrawal of their support for a number of energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes set up to help reduce the cost of energy bills for UK households and businesses. The Government has promised a replacement scheme for the Green Deal but as yet there are no details or timescales available. The future for the Green Deal Communities Funding scheme which runs alongside the Green Deal is also unclear.

“It is frustrating that the Government has made a further U-turn on its efforts to tackle fuel poverty and lower carbon emissions. There really doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive Government strategy for tackling high energy bills through home energy efficiencies, but the UK is in much need of one.

“The UK’s domestic energy efficiency market has been hit with fluctuating Government policies and subsidy cutbacks. The Council’s approach to this has been to grab each funding pot at the earliest opportunity to protect households from rising energy bills.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has confirmed that all existing Green Deal plans taken out by householders before July 23rd will be honoured.

There may be further discounts available to Nottingham citizens for home efficiency interventions and people are advised to contact Nottingham Energy Partnership on 0300 688 08 08 for further information.

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For further information please contact Ruth Stallwood, Nottingham City Council Communications Team, on 0115 876 2900or by email at ruth.stallwood@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Nottingham is the most energy self-sufficient City in the UK and is one of the few cities to have developed a City-wide energy strategy based on green energy production. In line with this, the City has key manifesto commitments to:

• Help residents keep their energy bills down by doubling the number of homes with loft, cavity and solid wall insulation
• Cut carbon emissions by 31% as an authority and by 15% across the city by 2016
It is a priority of the council to deliver low carbon energy efficiency programmes across the city, which support real money-saving schemes for citizens and businesses in both domestic housing and commerce.

Nottingham City Council will take a leading role in the development of a domestic energy efficiency programme across the City and alongside its partners will aim to contribute to the successful delivery of its manifesto commitments.

In addition, it is a priority to create jobs for local people in a growing and innovative environmental sector, and to ensure that everyone understands the environmental challenge and how we can play our part in responding to it.

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