Opinion by Peter Thom, managing director, Green Heat
The question people will be asking is why did the Green Homes Grant, a £2 billion government-funded scheme, not work? Was it too much red tape and government heads in the sand? Why did it take the Prime Minister so long to step in and stop all the absurd red tape?
I had been asking these questions for some time and eventually the plug was pulled.
The nub of the issue is that installers did not engage with this scheme, and why would they? Many of us were burnt by the Green Deal and have the scars, with many now not in business.
During the Bonfield Review of the Green Deal, we established that there were no complaints on heating installations, which made MCS and Trustmark redundant for the heating industry. I also asked which consumer protection legislation was not actually working and did consumers need any more protection? This has never been answered. We were then not invited to any more of the meetings. Then Green Deal Mark II was launched [in September 2020] as the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.
I asked BEIS at a recent virtual Energy Efficiency Association meeting how many installers had uncoupled from the scheme. BEIS did not know and, more worryingly, did not appear to care. It was noted that most installers were still waiting for payment and many said they had severe financial difficulties due to this. It was also noted that many operatives were being laid off, so the scheme was failing to create jobs, apart from the army of inspectors and form fillers.
I asked: “When will the Prime Minister step in and stop all this absurd red tape? This bureaucracy is killing the country.” They were unable to answer. There were numerous questions being tabled in Parliament and it was interesting to see how deep their heads went into the sand before reality kicked in.
We need a solution for the professional heating engineer to lead the way towards zero carbon without the red tape. Are MCS, Trustmark and PAS 2035 really necessary for the professional heating engineer? Climate change will be resolved with engineering solutions by engineers, not by an army of inspectors and accreditation bodies.