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Landlords need ‘green grants’ to make basic eco-improvements - claim

The head of a building body says landlords and home owners need a replacement for the defunct Green Homes Grant to fund basic eco-improvements.

The government’s new Heat and Buildings Strategy says relatively little about insulation and instead majors on heat pumps to replace gas boilers.

Gillian Charlesworth of the Building Research Establishment says: “Moving away from gas for home heating is crucial if the UK is to meet its net zero targets, and we are pleased to see clear recognition that heat pumps are the technology most likely to get us there, as well as new investment to support low carbon improvements in public sector buildings and social housing.


“However, there are still billions of pounds missing from the government’s manifesto commitment of £9.2bn for decarbonising the built environment.

“We had hoped for a replacement to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme to provide private home owner occupiers with support for fabric first measures, like insulation. Privately owned homes are the least energy efficient part of the UK housing stock and we would like to see fiscal incentives through council tax or VAT to encourage decarbonisation. 

“These incentives, along with changes to business rates, will be equally vital for small businesses, who will also need a clear plan and support to transition to net zero.”

The original Green Homes Grant offered grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to cover two thirds of the cost of insulation or low-carbon heating.


But the scheme failed because of a shortage of accredited fitters and thousands of landlords were left without the improvements they hoped for by the time the scheme was shut down by the government over the summer.

Charlesworth continues: “The success of the strategy will depend on its implementation, and we need more detail on how the government will support industry to train and retrain the hundreds of thousands of workers needed to retrofit Britain’s ageing housing stock, who will make a vital contribution to levelling up.

“The government has another opportunity to outline its plans to address these challenges in next week’s Budget, which we will be watching keenly.”

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  • icon

    The Govt is lurching from one idea to the next in an effort to tick the green box. Insulating all our housing stock would reduce the amount of energy used in heating our homes and thus our carbon emissions without changing our heating fuel, but instead of supporting that idea the Govt offers just 90,000 households the chance to save £5k on a heat pump - a system which requires good insulation in the first place. Maybe Boris thinks heat pumps are sexy and insulation boring - either way this policy is destined to be as ineffective as the Green Homes Grant.

  • Bill Wood

    Many years ago I was given free loft insulation for my own house and two of my rental properties. Mark Group did this work quickly and efficiently, and everything worked perfectly. No complex paperwork or forms to fill in, no four months haggling as with the GHGS, in fact I think it was only one sheet of paper giving my consent. And it didn’t matter who owned the property.
    Now seems the right time to introduce a similar scheme for loft insulation and for other insulation measures. More expensive maybe, but at least wasteful administration costs would be minimal, and the uptake high.


    Definitely agree with this. We were lucky enough to get either free or subsidised loft and cavity insulation in several of our rental properties and brought our whole portfolio up to the best it could be at the time. The two we have with solid walls will probably have to go before EPC C as it is not economically viable to bring them up to scratch unless there is some assistance.

  • icon

    The Government should forget about grant schemes and simply give all property owners VAT free insulation and other "green" initiatives whilst allowing 50% tax relief to be claimed on self assessment tax returns.

    This would reduce a £6000 cost to £2500 for all property owners with no administration overhead, no need to used accredited cowboys etc.

  • icon

    I have read a few articles on Heat Pumps and what is very obvious is that a house with existing gas central heating pipework would need to be ripped apart and that copper pipe replaced with far larger diameter copper, plus ensuring that the insulation is up to modern house +, it is not just a matter of fitting the rather ugly '' air con '' unit on the outside, for it to work and provide the heat a house needs all of this needs to be done, not just a small part of it. How exactly will that work ? My copper pipework is within the walls and under the floors...... the govt are on a fools errand, yes ensure that all new builds are up to this standard and solar panels are fitted on the roof but for existing stock with solid walls and no cavity heat pumps will be a very big disappointment, and once fitted, there is no going back !


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