Climate change minister defends predicted reduction in loft and cavity wall installations

Climate change minister Greg Barker responded for the first time last night to the furore following the publication in Building magazine of government estimates into the impact of the Green Deal on loft and cavity wall insulation.

Barker told Channel 4 News that the Green Deal will “excite” members of the public with the opportunity to install a much wider range of energy efficiency measures than have been available under existing subsidised programmes such as CERT.

His comments followed Building’s revelation of government estimates that the annual number of installations of loft insulation will fall by 93% under the existing proposals, with cavity wall insulation installations falling by 70%. This is because the subsidies for the technology under the existing CERT programme, will be abandoned under the Green Deal.

Asked by Channel 4 News why people would react positively to a reduction in subsidised systems, Barker said: “There’s going to be things available to them under the Green Deal as well, that’ll be real home improvements.

“For example potentially new windows, a new front door, solid wall insulation that will put a new face on your home, really update it and make it look smart. Potentially new heating systems, new lighting systems, maybe LED lights giving you fantastic new options for lighting your home.

“[These are measures that will] really improve the fabric of your home. People will get excited about that.”

However, David Kennedy, chief executive of the government’s environment watchdog, the Committee on Climate Change, said: “It’s a real problem because we need emissions reductions from energy reductions from home improvement to meet our legally binding carbon budgets, and it’s a problem because energy bills are high at the moment.

“Loft and cavity wall insulation offers the opportunity to reduce those bills, but if we don’t do loft and cavity walls then we won’t reduce those bills.”

Channel 4 News had earlier quoted Building’s figures, obtained from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.