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Greens investigating 100% grants, says Euro candidate

Grants covering 100 per cent of the installation cost of renewables and energy efficiency measures are being investigated by the Green Party.

In his keynote speech to the Institute of Domestic Heating and Environmental Engineers Dr Rupert Read, a Green city councillor in Norwich and European Parliament candidate, said his party was advocating Government carbon emissions reduction targets of 60 per cent by 2025 and 90 per cent by 2050, and was reviewing measures to help bring this about.

He said at the moment households would only introduce measures that were perceived as “cost effective”, but far more needed to be done.

He said: “We are investigating whether it should cost people nothing provided there is a good case for putting it in and the people who take the trouble to put them in run them properly.

“It is vital the public get to increase efficiency and renewable energy. We need to look at the case for 100 per cent grants.”

But some at the conference questioned whether a grant system was the best way of securing the take-up of renewables as other Government-backed schemes have led to increased installation costs and growing bureaucracy.

Mr Read said any scheme would need built-in guarantees that measures would remain in place for a significant time and would provide efficiency benefits. He argued that measures such as solar hot water heating would be relatively cheap and reliable.

He said: “We would want to be fairly certain we were getting value for money. We have to decide whether it is a risk worth taking.”

Dr Read said his party was committed to free insulation for all within five to 10 years, no matter what the outcome of its debate on 100 per cent grants. He said the 60 per cent carbon reduction target for 2025 was vital.

He added: “This is an absolute minimum if the UK is to play any part in the carbon reductions which are needed worldwide. It is much more likely the UK will need to reach 90 per cent by 2050.”