News Date: Friday 4th December 2009
Time for a ‘Green Deal’ to help the environment and save you money
Conservative plans to improve home insulation and reward recycling
Tim Loughton MP for East Worthing and Shoreham gave his backing to bold Conservative plans to helpWest Sussex households protect the environment and save money. Major policy proposals for a Conservative government include giving rewards to householders for recycling their rubbish and also a ‘Green Deal’ of providing up to £6,500 for home insulation improvements at no upfront cost to residents
Green Deal: Under the plans, every household will have the right to have home energy efficiency work of up to £6,500. There will be no upfront cost, as the work will be paid for by the much larger savings on energy bills from the improved insulation. This will open up a whole new market in energy efficiency, create tens of thousands of skilled jobs and cut carbon emissions. It will also save families money and makeWest Sussex homes warmer in winter – helping the elderly and ‘fuel poor’ in particular. A typical home could see £30 a month knocked off its final bill.
Rewards for recycling: A Conservative government would also scrap Labour’s plans for new bin taxes on family homes. Labour Ministers have already changed the law so bin taxes can be imposed, despite the fact that they have been shown to increase fly-tipping and dangerous ‘backyard burning’. Conservatives would work with councils acrossWest Sussex to promote schemes where good behaviour is rewarded, but families are not taxed or fined. Under the American ‘Recyclebank’ scheme now being piloted in Britain, households receive points for recycling; these are then converted into vouchers for local shops, including Marks & Spencer and Costcutter, or into donations to charities. Households could earn up to £175 a year in vouchers.
“Gordon Brown hits people with taxes, fines and bans, rather than trusting people and encouraging social responsibility. Conservatives believe in incentives to help and reward people to do their bit to help the environment.
“The Green Deal of insulating people’s homes for no upfront cost and rewarding people for recycling will not only protect the environment, but also help families and pensioners who are struggling to make ends meet. These practical policies show how if you vote blue, West Sussex will go green and save money.”
Notes to Editors
CONSERVATIVE PLANS TO INSULATE YOUR HOME
Under Conservative plans for a ‘Green Deal’, people will be able to receive up to £6,500 of energy efficiency improvements at no upfront cost. Instead, the costs of the improvements will be made over the long term through the resulting (and much greater) savings made from lower energy bills.
• People will first have an independent assessment of what energy efficiency improvements could be made which would lead to savings in heating bills.
• They then get an entitlement to have these improvements carried out immediately by a kite-marked installer at no upfront cost.
• The costs (less any grants available) are repaid over 25 years via the regular electricity bill – a typical cost of £10 a month would save £30 a month on fuel bills.
• Trusted retailers like Marks & Spencer, as well as energy suppliers, social enterprises, local authorities and local businesses would all be authorised to deliver the Green Deal to households.
Behind the scenes, the retailer would work with the banking sector to fund the £6,500, resulting in home improvements like energy-efficient lighting, modern boilers and cavity and loft insulation. They make their money back through a 25 year investment which tracks the difference between what you would have paid to power your home and the new lower sum
Any measures that are part of the building fabric and can demonstrate a positive payback over 20 years will be eligible for funding under the scheme. The scheme will be privately financed by banks and investment funds. Top-up funding for energy efficiency measures – such as CERT and WarmFront – will be combined with the scheme where available to reduce the cost to households even further
CONSERVATIVE REWARDS FOR RECYCLING
Windsor & Maidenhead Council and Halton Borough Council are already piloting the ‘Recyclebank’ scheme, used in America, where householders are paid for recycling. Conservatives will work with councils to encourage the take-up of such Recyclebank reward schemes, creating a stable investment framework for councils by providing certainty over the long-term level of landfill tax. In Windsor and Maidenhead, participating households have increased their recycling rates by 30 per cent on average.
Under the Recyclebank scheme, households are set up with a RecycleBank Rewards Account, which means the more they recycle, the more Points they accumulate, which can then redeemed to use in local and national outlets, including Marks & Spencer and Costcutter, or to make donations to charity. The rewards can be as much as £175 a year.
Labour plans for bin taxes
Bin taxes can be imposed by stealth: The Labour Government has changed the law to allow bin taxes to be introduced. They invited councils to become pilots, but (to date) no councils have volunteered to take part. Under the small print of the law, once one council pilot takes place, that pilot scheme can then be rolled out across the country with no vote in Parliament.
Labour plans for bin taxes in fourth term. Labour’s local government manifesto for a fourth term has called for the introduction of bin taxes (LGA Labour Group, Putting fairness first: Local Labour’s Manifesto for a new term, September 2009, pp. 54-55).
Unelected bin quangos: Labour are planning to use new Joint Waste Authorities – new unelected bin quangos – to impose the taxes. Joint Waste Authorities will take control of all waste collection functions from local authorities, but will not be elected. They will be able to impose bin taxes from above, with no means for the electorate to kick them out (Hansard, 20 October 2009, col. 1333WA).
More fly-tipping: The Keep Britain Tidy campaign has warned that bin taxes will lead to “people simply dumping their garbage illegally in a bid to avoid paying up” (Encams press release, 5 October 2006). Research commissioned by the Government has admitted that bin taxes will lead to an additional 155,000 tonnes of fly-tipping a year across England – double the current level (Eunomia, Modelling the Impact of Household Charging for Waste in England, 2007).
More backyard burning: The Republic of Ireland has introduced bin taxes, which have caused a surge in illegal burning of household waste. This releases toxic chemicals and dioxins into the atmosphere. One in ten adults now admit to burning household waste; 80 per cent of local authorities in the Republic identify ‘backyard burning’ as a significant and growing issue (Republic of Ireland Environmental Protection Agency Press Release, 23 October 2006). Fly-tipping has also soared.