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Insulation industry calls for urgent intervention over Green Deal/ECO statistics
Published:  29 August, 2013

Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association warns that while there was a small increase in the number of insulation installations in June compared to May, the number of installations in 2013 remain well short of what is required

Provisional figures, subject to further checks by Ofgem, show there were 149,681 measures installed under Energy Company Obligation (ECO) up to the end of June, the majority of which were for loft insulation (45% of all ECO measures), cavity wall insulation (33%) and boiler upgrades (18%).

However, Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association (NIA) explained that numbers of measures and associated carbon savings are significantly below what was to be expected a fifth of the way through the ECO programme with cavity wall insulation down 65% down and solid wall insulation down nearly 90%.

"The figures are extremely disappointing and of great concern,” he said. “While there was a small increase in the number of insulation installations in June compared to May, the number of installations in 2013 remain well short of what is needed and there is no sign of the ramping up in volumes that is required.

"In its annual report in June the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) stressed the need to maintain and increase the pace of insulation installations to meet the Carbon Budgets. There are still 7 million solid walls, 5 million cavity walls and 7 million lofts that need insulating in the UK.

"Based on 2012 levels this would require some 600,000 cavities, 1.2 million lofts and over 80,000 solid walls to be insulated each year – which is achievable and would require levels of activity built up over many years to be maintained. However, over the first six months of 2013, ECO has delivered at a rate equivalent to just 100,000 cavity wall, 135,000 loft and 9,500 solid wall installations per annum which is very bad news for carbon savings, consumer’s energy bills and jobs in the insulation industry.”

While the NIA is supportive of the Green Deal and ECO, with the association and its members undertaking a wide range of activities to stimulate demand, given the continued lack of activity in these schemes the NIA is now calling for urgent intervention in order to accelerate the pace of insulation delivery and maximise the success of the Green Deal and ECO.

Suggested measures include:

- Development of a robust delivery plan for insulation measures for the remainder of the current ECO to include agreed volumes for individual insulation measures and regular reporting against these to enable any slippage to be identified and acted upon.

- Simplification and standardisation of the ECO guidance to remove any blockers.

- Incentives for Local Authorities and Housing Associations to engage in joint funded ECO projects.

- The introduction of additional incentives and further regulation to minimise the delivery risks for insulation measures under the new policy framework that have been identified by the CCC.

- A high-profile, government-backed, national communications programme to increase awareness and understanding of the Green Deal and ECO amongst the general public.