Monday, March 10, 2008

We are committed to tackling climate change

Oh, really? You could have fooled me.

That post heading is the response by a spokesman from the DBERR (it used to be the DTI), to an accusation that the government itself places hurdles in the way of simple, and relatively cheap, energy saving domestic solar hot water installations, as reported in the Telegraph.

A few years back, you could easily get a grant of £400 towards the installation of solar water heating, providing the chosen kit was on the approved list (tested and checked out for free) and you used an approved installer (simple capabilities assessment). The grant is still available, but nowadays you have to be equivalently as lucky as to have won the national lottery jackpot to have a chance of getting it. Contrast that with Northern Ireland, where under the control of the assembly, the grant is £1100, and is very easily available.

"we have been disappointed, indeed astonished, to find that we face a host of obstacles from government, despite the rhetoric on combating climate change and the commitment to renewable energy". That's a comment from Hugh Synge, founder of a solar water heating business. And he's quite correct, the grant system is now an utter shambles; now the installers have to pay £1800 to be registered as approved (a lot for any small business); and now to get any solar water heating model approved by the BRE costs some £6000+ (a hurdle my own business simply cannot afford to get over as yet). And we haven't even mentioned the dog's breakfast of obstacles that planning permission puts in the way of any installation, despite multiple promises that planning permission requirements will be waived for renewable energy installations.

This would be so simple to sort out, and the savings for the consumer, and the planet, would be extremely significant. But, of course, that would require some real action, not just 'commitment', and a load of sickly green bullsh*t. Let's face it, there is so much more mileage, kudos and good publicity in jumping on easy things like the banning plastic bags bandwagon, isn't there? And all this at a time when we see headlines like 'Climate change could spark war' from Metro, and 'Millions of climate change migrants will overwhelm Europe', from the Mail on Sunday.

Committed? If you ask me, the whole lot of them ought to be!

1 comment:

Peter said...

It's definitely way up there with 'needs looking at', 'I've called for a review', 'not good enough' and the total smorgasbord of other 'well first let's hire more public-purse parasites and/or talk this to death before even thinking about moving to any simple, cost-effective, high enviROI solutions that yes, might involve a decision followed by some action.

But maybe that's why these guys get the big bucks and the guaranteed, gold-plated, early index-linked.