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Government energy efficiency strategy "disappointing"

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Green building experts criticise ministers of lack of new ideas

An energy efficiency strategy launched by energy minister Greg Barker this week has been criticised for its lack of new ideas or detail on existing policies.

The government said its strategy would “kickstart a revolution in UK energy efficiency” and save up to 22 power stations worth of energy by 2020.

But green building leaders branded the document “disappointing” and said the government had missed an opportunity.

Initiatives within the strategy include £39 million to fund five research centres which will try to find ways of changing attitudes towards energy use.

The mayor of London’s RE:FIT project, a public sector retrofitting programme, will also be rolled out nationwide.

Paul King, chief executive at the UK-Green Building Council, welcomed the government’s intentions but said the strategy fell short of what is necessary.

“The strategy tells us much of what we already know about existing policies, but does not provide much new impetus to really drive investment in energy efficiency,” he said.

“What we need is a long term policy trajectory, together with clarity on how this will be achieved, in order to create the ‘investment grade’ policy that investors require.”

The strategy reiterated several existing initiatives such as the Green Deal and the creation of a Green Investment Bank.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said further measures would be needed to encourage investment in energy efficiency.

“It’s becoming ever more apparent that the Government’s Green Deal retrofit initiative is not going to deliver the transformational change that is needed which is why we need a range of incentives to promote energy efficiency,” he said.

David Symons, director at consultancy firm WSP Environment & Energy, added: “The frustration is that there are plenty of measures that would have a more immediate effect like providing a stamp duty rebate for energy efficiency in homes.”

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