20 March 2012
In a keynote speech on 20th March at the annual Ecobuild conference in London, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced the coalition is to cut more red tape to allow small businesses in to the Green Deal market.
The Green Deal is the government’s plan to improve the nation’s draughty homes at no upfront cost to the consumer. It will be launched later in the year.
Greg Barker said:
“I want to see a thriving Green Deal market which means we must make it as easy, as cheap and as straightforward as possible for businesses of any size to get involved. So I have cut the red tape to help promote a competitive market and reduce costs which will not only help small businesses in particular but will also make the Green Deal a better deal for consumers.”
In his speech, Greg Barker announced:
- Removal of the requirement to hold a surety bond in case of insolvency. Feedback from the consultation indicated having such a bond would be very costly, especially for smaller Green Deal providers and would act as a disincentive to join the market. Instead, requirements will now be included in the Green Deal Framework Regulations and Green Deal Arrangements Agreement to ensure that a Green Deal provider’s ongoing obligations are fulfilled by the person who is entitled to the payments under a Green Deal Plan, and that the Secretary of State is still able to provide redress and recalculate the plan if the obligations are not completed properly.
- Removal of the requirement to provide an independent conciliation service, instead there will be a requirement for Green Deal providers to have an independent conciliation service in place to offer customers an alternate route of redress. Customers would always have recourse direct to the Ombudsman and therefore this service would only ever be voluntary for the customer. With this in mind, this requirement was seen as a duplicate which could add unnecessary time to the redress process. In addition, a bespoke Green Deal Ombudsman service will be procured to provide redress for customers.
- Changes to warranty proposals. Lifetime warranties on every measure will now not be required as this would substantially increase costs for some measures, such as boilers.
Instead, the lengths of Green Deals will be limited to estimated measure lifetimes and set minimum standards. Green Deal Providers will be required to utilise appropriate existing market schemes and where they are not available, robust minimum standards will be mandated.
Responding to the announcement Tim Pollard, Head of Sustainability at Wolseley, said:
“Government’s new proposals are great for SMEs, reducing costs for businesses and consumers but still making sure there is a lot of consumer protection.”
David Adams, Head of Retrofit at Willmott Dixon, said:
“We welcome DECC’s proposed policy changes. They maintain a high standard of consumer protection whilst enabling businesses to drive down costs in a way that will benefit consumers.”
Notes for editors:
- Greg Barker’s speech at Ecobuild