Due to “overwhelming popular demand” the Government confirmed late last night that the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has closed with immediate effect. The sudden move has seen the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) come under furious attack from industry and members of the public alike.
From the scheme’s launch in early June, DECC made it very clear that applications were subject to available funds. Barely a week ago they confirmed cuts to GDHIF, which saw cashbacks available to households drop from £7,600 to £5,600, and the removal of flue gas heat recovery units. But the sudden decision to close the scheme entirely and without warning has been met with both anger and disbelief.
According to DECC an unprecedented surge in applications received in the last couple of days has used up the entire allocated budget. So it’s left them with no choice but to pull the plug on the popular scheme. The National Insulation Association claims that around £60 million worth of vouchers was applied for in just two days.
Defending DECC’s actions, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd said: “We were always clear there was a budget, which is why we encouraged people to act quickly.”
Unfortunately Rudd’s words will do little to appease the energy efficiency industry. Geared up to deliver green deal work, they are forced to endure yet another setback thanks to the sudden and immediate closure of the GDHIF.
So where do we go from here? DECC has said that it will “monitor voucher redemption rates and will consider whether to launch a further offer should funds become available”.
There’s certainly no denying that GDHIF was the best thing to ever happen to the Green Deal. And with all the hallmarks of their solar feed-in tariff fiasco of 2011, could the Government’s stop-start treatment of GDHIF result in yet another High Court battle?