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Huhne unveils home insulation plan

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has insisted there is “no room for cowboys” in Government plans to implement the installation of energy improvements to millions of homes across Britain.

Under the “green deal”, homeowners can improve the energy efficiency of their property without spending money upfront, instead paying it back through a charge on their energy bill which should be less than the savings made as a result of the improvements.

The scheme, which forms a significant part of the Energy Bill published this week, aims to improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s buildings and, hopefully, create thousands of jobs in the sector.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that the number of people employed in insulation could almost quadruple from current levels of 27,000 to 100,000 by 2015 and up to 250,000 in the next decade.

But Mr Huhne insisted that steps had been taken to ensure consumers would not fall victim to rogue traders or receive dodgy advice.

The proposals include an assurance customers receive accredited advice on how to make their property more energy efficient and ensuring that the measures such as insulation are installed by an accredited installer working for a reputable company.

The rules will also prevent customers being mis-sold energy efficiency measures, provide a “green deal” quality mark and insurance-backed warranties, as well as ensure a competitive market for the programme which will allow high street retailers, local authorities and builders merchants to deliver the programme.

Mr Huhne said that when it came to making homes warmer and cosier, Britain was a “laggard” and the “green deal” was about taking the hassle and upfront costs out of making houses more energy efficient.

He said: “I’m confident the green deal will catch on with the public. It’ll make upgrading our nation’s draughty homes a no-brainer.

“But I don’t want people to be hoodwinked by rogue traders or receive dodgy advice.”