deccOn the 4th June 2015, the Chancellor, George Osborne announced £4 ½ billion of cuts including £70 million to be cut from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) budget.

The Carbon Brief released a report previous to this on the 3rd June 2015 highlighting the limited scope for cuts within the DECC and the potential impact if cuts did take place.

With the Conservative government promising to decrease public spending, whilst protecting health, pensions and education, unprotected departments such as the DECC are likely to be the focus for cuts.

Impact of cuts

Carbon Brief analysed the 2013/14 budget of the DECC which was £3.4 billion. The money spent on managing the UK’s military nuclear waste and decommissioning legacy accounts for 65% of this budget. The core departmental priorities accounts for the remaining 34%.

The Carbon brief concluded that 87% of the overall budget was essential and would not be eligible for cuts. This 87% is made up of costs relating to the nuclear legacy, international agreements and legal liabilities from formerly nationalised energy industries. Therefore, 13% of the budget could potentially be cut from the DECC’s budget. Currently, 2% (£70 million) of their budget has already been cut.

The impact of these cuts will mean there is less money to dedicate to research on energy and climate change as well as schemes to help people out of fuel poverty.

One example of a scheme which the Carbon Brief suggests is likely to be cut is Green Deal. This a government scheme lead by the DECC which helps people find the best way to pay for energy saving improvements they want to make to their homes including energy grants, like the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. These improvements can include insulation, heating, double glazing and renewable energy sources which can help reduce long-term energy costs. Without the support of the government, less people will have access to the funding needed to make important improvements to their homes.

Importance of community energy

When the government is demonstrating that they are willing to make cuts to energy and climate change services, the need for community energy projects becomes clear.

Community energy projects which favour renewable energy sources can help to create a more secure energy future for the community in addition to helping reduce the impact of climate change.

Access to cost-efficient local energy benefits all members of the community but is especially essential to people who are living in fuel poverty.

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This solid wall  insulation in mounted, protected with a silicon shield then rendered

In May 2014 the Government announced that households carrying out improvements to their properties to make their homes more energy efficient may be entitled to up to £7600 back, to offset the cost of the works.

The money available from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will be available  from June 2014 and forms the latest part of the Governments Green Deal initiative. The Green Deal encourages UK residents to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, helping to reduce heat losses and saving money on fuel bills, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels.

The GDHIF will provide homeowners with money back on the contributions they make towards any energy efficiency improvements made, providing the criteria* is met. This new incentive entitles homeowners to the following:
  • up to £1000 for installing two measures from an approved list; and/or
  • up to £6000 for installing solid wall insulation; and
  • up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment.

The fund also applies to anyone who has bought a property in the 12 months prior to application. If the energy efficiency improvements are carried out to the property, they will qualify for up to an additional £500 incentive. Further to this the fund applies to social or private landlords, if paying for the improvements themselves.

Typical improvements include:

  • solid wall, cavity wall or loft insulation,
  • new heating systems,
  • draught-proofing,
  • double glazed windows
  • replacement storage heaters

* To be eligible to receive money from the GDHIF you must have the improvements recommended on an eligible Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) (less than 24 months old) or a Green Deal Advice Report. Further stipulations can be found detailed on the press release.

You will be provided with your Green Deal Advice Report following your Green Deal Assessment. As BHESCo Founder Kayla Ente explains,

“Many people who have had Green Deal Assessments don’t know how to take the process forward. This is where BHESCo can help. We can look at the report and help you make changes based on the information.”

Find out more about the Green Deal on the Government website  and read the full article about the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

If you would like to find out more about the improvements that could be made to your home to make it more energy efficient please contact BHESCo, who will be able to provide you with more information and advice.