Green plan brings extra bills warning for homes

Households face being hit with costly extra bills for home improvement schemes under “green” plans proposed by the Government, it was reported.

Residents could be blocked from replacing windows and boilers or putting up conservatories unless they agree to carry out other work, such as loft or wall insulation, according to the Daily Mail.

The proposals, aimed at reducing the UK’s carbon footprint, would hike up bills by 10 per cent, the newspaper reports. Those struggling to meet the extra cost could borrow cash under the Coalition’s Green Deal scheme, repaying the amount through an extra charge on energy bills, it claims.

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Officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) told the newspaper the measures, which are under consultation, would be “mandatory” unless homes already had a high energy performance rating.

The new rules would come into force from April 2014 if approved, the newspaper said.

Homeowners wishing to replace a boiler or build a conservatory will have to notify their local authority, which can then tell them to carry out other works as a condition of receiving approval.

Measures listed in the Whitehall plans include loft or cavity insulation, hot water cylinder insulation and draught proofing, according to the Mail.

Conservative MP Tim Yeo, chairman of the Energy and Climate change Committee, criticised the plans. He told the newspaper: “If people are spending their own money on a new boiler compulsory intrusion is not appropriate.

“Encouragement or information about the scheme is justified, but it should not be made an absolute requirement to have builders inside your home.”

An DCLG spokesman told the newspaper: “The reason we have picked these particular efficiency measures is because they are the cheapest and most effective in terms of making the money back in energy savings.

“This is a consultation and we have highlighted potential problems to encourage responses on how this may affect the public.”

The Green Deal, a £14bn scheme backed by the private sector to insulate all of Britain’s homes within 20 years, begins in October.

Homeowners will be able to borrow £10,000 to carry out the work and pay it back through their energy bills for up to 25 years.

A DCLG spokesman said later in a statement: “When a householder decides to change their boiler they would simply be also be asked to make other energy efficiency improvements to help reduce the cost of rising energy bills so their home is warmer and cheaper to run – typical savings could be as much as £150 a year, which is real help to hard-pressed families.

“If a household does choose to go ahead, the Government’s Green Deal is there to help them carry out their improvements in a way that means they do not have to pay any upfront costs.”