UK Politics

'Only 200 homes' signed up for Green Deal energy loans

Thermal image of house showing heat loss
Image caption The aim is to improve the energy efficiency of Britain's ageing housing stock

Fewer than 200 homes have signed up for the government's flagship Green Deal so far, the BBC has learned.

The policy, launched in January, offers long-term loans for energy-saving home improvement work.

People in England, Scotland and Wales can spend the money on new boilers or insulation and repay it over a maximum of 25 years, through energy bills.

Almost 19,000 homes have been assessed so far but very few householders have gone on to take out the loans.

The move to insulate the UK's ageing housing stock is designed to reduce carbon emissions, keep people warm, and make energy affordable.

The idea is to give loans for home improvements - but the work must pay for itself over 25 years through lower bills.

BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme has learned that fewer than 200 people have signed up for the Green Deal so far.

In March, Energy Minister Greg Barker said he hoped to have at least 10,000 signed up by the end of the year.

But although the policy officially launched in January, there have been some delays with setting up the funding to allow installation work to be carried out.

And Paula Owen, an independent consultant in the energy sector, said a complicated rule that meant the loan is attached to the property, not the homeowner, meant people were a little wary of being the first to sign up.

She said that people were worried about whether it would affect their ability to sell their houses in future.

"I think not, but some areas of the housing industry are putting that fear into people's minds too."

She said more had to be done to make sure the Green Deal was "communicated properly to the public".

The government has stressed that the Green Deal is intended to be a long-term policy.

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: "The Green Deal is an ambitious 20-year programme designed to deliver home improvement in Great Britain on an unprecedented scale. It's only just getting started.

"Official numbers on installations will be available at the end of June. However, the early signs are encouraging, with over 18,000 assessments carried out before the end of April and the supply chain building steadily."

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