Chair of the Climate Change Committee criticises government for lack of ambition in its use of limited funds

The government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation plans have been criticised by Lord Turner for not being ambitious enough and failing to meet the government’s carbon reduction targets.

In a letter to climate change secretary Chris Huhne, Turner, writing in his capacity as chair of the Committee on Climate Change, said the take up of the most effective measures would be low under the proposed policies.

The government is currently consulting on detailed plans for the Green Deal, which will offer low cost energy efficiency measures to home owners paid for by a charge on their energy bills.

It is also consulting on details of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which will see additional funding directed at homes where Green Deal measures would be uneconomical, alongside heating support for low income families.

The Green Deal and the ECO policies are together expected to save around 2 MtCO2, out of an estimated 4-5 MtCO2 efficiency achievable in the residential sector.

Turner said: “The Department for Energy and Climate Change’s draft impact assessment notes that loft and cavity wall insulation account for much of the cost effective potential to improve energy efficiency in the residential sector.

“But it projects that implementation of these measures will be very limited under the proposed policy approach.”

The letter went on to criticise the Green Deal’s effectiveness. Using the government’s own take-up figures Turner calculated it would result in only 10% of suitable lofts being insulated and only 30% of cavity walls being filled with insulation.

He said: “Low uptake would be problematic given the need to insulate lofts and cavity walls to meet carbon budgets, and to mitigate energy bill impacts from investment in low carbon power generation.”

In addition it said that ECO funding should be used for cavity wall insulation like that provided by the Green Deal, which it is currently prohibited from doing under the proposals, because it provided a more effective use of the money.

A spokesperson from DECC said: “Once the Green Deal is in place we envisage there’ll be plenty of cost effective offers on loft and cavity wall insulation, making it easy for households to install with no need for any subsidy. So we want to use the Energy Company Obligation to target older, harder to treat homes and provide extra help for the fuel poor.”