Just 38 households take up ‘Green Deal’ in St Albans district

St Albans City & District Council

St Albans City & District Council - Credit: Archant

A floundering multi-million pound national ‘green’ scheme has been blasted by local politicians after only 38 households signed up in the district over the last year.

The Government-led Green Deal was launched at the start of 2013 with the intention of encouraging energy efficiency in homes at no upfront cost.

But the latest Department of Energy and Climate Change figures show only around three dozen applications were made in the St Albans district – the 18th lowest number of applications nationally.

Deputy leader of St Albans Labour Party Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi said the coalition’s big idea on energy efficiency was turning out to be more hot air.

He went on: “With such tiny numbers even bothering to apply for the scheme despite promotion by the district council, it is clear that this scheme is of no help to the 5,261 residents in fuel poverty locally or the thousands more feeling the pinch of higher fuel bills.”

To benefit from the scheme households are required to take out loans to install insulation, with a guarantee that over the next 35 years the savings in energy should cover the expenditure.

Uptake figures across the county varied, with 163 in Watford, 85 in Hertsmere, and 28 in Welwyn and Hatfield.

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Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Cllr Sandy Walkington was very dismissive of the scheme: “It looks like a horribly slow start in St Albans as compared with Watford next door.

“While this may reflect the differing characteristics of the two communities, we know that St Albans has one of the highest carbon footprints in the UK partly because of the energy inefficiency of its housing stock.

“If this were a school report, we would be writing ‘Must Try Harder’.”

Green Party district Cllr Simon Grover said the Green Deal has been a “complete disaster” for the Government, taxpayers and homeowners.

“The Government has thrown tens of millions of pounds at it, with the result that less than 1,000 households in the UK have completed work under the scheme.

“It’s complicated, expensive, and a huge missed opportunity to improve the nation’s homes.”