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MP's concern over green homes plans

The Tory chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee has questioned whether Government proposals to compel people to fit energy-saving insulation in homes will be effective.

Tim Yeo endorsed the Green Deal, which offers loans to fit insulation with the goal being the energy savings covering the cost, but said he was concerned that the current strategy would not be effective.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he "desperately" wanted to see British homes be made more energy-efficient but said making planning permission for projects such as conservatories dependent on energy efficiency was the wrong approach.

"I'm not sure it's the best first step at this stage," he said. "I think the laudable aim of the Green Deal to make all of Britain's homes more efficient over the next decade is excellent and anything which encourages home owners and tenants to make their homes more energy-efficient is a good thing.

"It's good for them, saves them money and also is good for the environment - so we're all in favour of that.

"The problem, as I see it at the moment, is the public are not really much engaged by this, they are not enthused by this prospect. It means having builders into your home, doing things, making a mess - all rather aggravating for a saving which is some way off in the future.

"You've got to find ways of making the public more enthusiastic and I think compelling people who have applied for planning consent to make some alteration to their home isn't necessarily going to help.

"The aim is good but I don't think it's the best way to get the public enthusiastic. I sympathise with the aim and I can see the sense in the proposal... my concern is entirely a practical one.

"I'm afraid there is a real risk the practical effects of this proposal may put them off... what we want to do is see people volunteering to make their homes more efficient, not compelling them to make some unconnected alteration."

Mr Yeo said the Government had to "remain ambitious" in cutting carbon emissions from buildings but said: "We have to try and make the public share those ambitions."

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