Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Green Deal and Fuel Poverty Workshop with the Green Alliance

Massive thanks to the Green Alliance for hosting our Green Deal Workshop - focusing on urban and rural fuel poverty in the Hexham constituency, and the wider North East. The Green Deal is an up front free programme used to provide household energy efficiency, and combat fuel poverty, with a staged repayment scheme out of your fuel bill savings. It will transform your energy bills and save you money in the short and long term.
- all agreed the basic principles behind the Green Deal were good;
- but all agreed that as a programme for energy efficiency it needed work, refinement and basic changes if it was genuinely to be fit for purpose.
That is where we come in - as 40 key stakeholders ranging from oil clubs to councillors, to Transition Tynedale and Friends of the Earth, from energy companies to the CAB, from social landlords to the HCP, many businesses and local providers and multiple interested parties, all disected the policy in detail: in doing so we identified the good points and the bad.
The crucial purpose of today was in
- trying to identify how this policy can help Hexham constituency residents
- and what lessons we need to give to Greg Barker, the key Minister.
The Green Alliance are working with 3 environmental partners as pilot projects to road test the Green Deal [the other constituencies are Redcar and Bristol North West]. We welcomed Becky, Rebecca and Hannah to Hexham and invited 40 Good Men and Women all of whom came together to learn and help make the Green Deal work

I plan to give everyone present proper feedback both here and in writing, but the key lessons learnt were that:
- the policy can and will work for private home owners
- but that take up will be difficult without active community leadership [of which today was our first step of many]
- this policy needs change if it is to apply to social tenants [who arguably need this policy more than anyone] as few tenants would apply for such a policy. It will clearly work if the government wants to, and can afford to, give the deal direct to Landlords, like Isos.
- Our short term target is to take away the lessons learnt and help Geg Barker refine the policy
- Our long term target is to transform our area and make real efforts to combat the fuel poverty and energy deficiency that exists in Hexham.
- To do that we are looking for specific streets in Hexham and Haydon Bridge who are interested in getting the benefit of the Green Deal

One final note: what was also amazing was seeing everyone interacting and talking about their common interest in this issue.
Many thanks to Green Alliance - a very rewarding 3 hours.