Cuts Watch #206: CLG takes £19.5m off green projects
Green show homes, Eco towns and energy efficiency initiatives are among the £19.5m in green cuts announced by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, as part of £32million savings in 2010-2011 (see also Cuts Watch 200). Each decision will mean reductions in future CO2 savings, green jobs and new low carbon prodcut markets.
The four Eco towns face the biggest cuts, losing £12m (50%) of their £24m budget for 2010-2011, and £5m next year, half their funding. These cuts will impact on the CO2 savings and employment and skills opportunities the towns promise. News of the cuts was broken to the local authorities overseeing the four eco-towns in an email from housing minister Grant Shapps, coinciding with the emergence of the first detailed designs for ‘show homes’ at one of the sites.
The towns are at Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire. We understand there will be just 10,000 homes in total, for 30,000 people, within five years, rather than the 100,000. A third will be classed as affordable homes. The aim is that all of the homes will be built by local workers trained to fit environmentally friendly technology. “Eco-show homes” are to be built to allow people to “test drive” green living. People will see firsthand the latest technology like smart meters to track energy use, electric car charging points, properly insulated homes built to the toughest ever standards and systems for saving water and recycling or composting waste.
CLG also cut £200,000 from pilot schemes to speed up renewable energy projects. New Planning Performance Agreements have helped six developers and community projects secure support for six pilot schemes that are vital for the transition to a low carbon economy: for example, support for two 2.5MW wind turbines in Doncaster, a community wind projects which will return a £300K annual profit to the local community for investment in other energy schemes. The developers report “really important and valuable learning” from the first schemes, as the £1m programme is cut short. According to a CLG spokesperson, the programme is being discontinued because the Government is clear on its priorities of “deficit reduction, and continuing to ensure economic recovery.”
CLG has also cut:
- £95,000 from its work on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which is designed to tackle climate change by reducing the amount of carbon produced by buildings. Under the 2004 Directive, an energy performance certificate (EPC) must be produced when a building is sold, constructed or rented. EPCs show the energy efficiency of a property and recommend improvements.
- £2,250,000 from its work in support of Green Show Homes.
No alternatives have been suggested to make up for the lost CO2 savings.