Council penalty for not going green
The days of getting penalised for not having a wind turbine are soon to come. Homeowners may be required to take steps toward energy savings or possibly face tax penalties under a proposed "green" initiative undertaken by the UK Green Buildings Council.
Groups like the TaxPayers Alliance are furious that homeowners who may already be conserving energy could be penalized for not adding a wind turbine or upgrading their boiler. Mail Online yesterday says the council is proposing "green mortgages" that will allow homeowners to upgrade their homes' energy efficiency with monthly payments low enough that they would be more than offset by lower utility bills. The loans would be for £10,000 to £15,000 and would be repayable over 25 years. Such mortgages would be available through high street banks in partnership with local councils. If a house were sold before the term of the mortgage were up, the new owners would assume the payments. Loans would be made for upgrades such as the addition of a wind turbine or solar panels, or upgrading to a more efficient heating system. Planning rules could be relaxed to allow wind turbines on listed buildings and in conservation areas.
And if the carrot alone isn't enough, some in the Green Buildings Council are proposing sticks in the form of higher council tax and stamp duties for those who don't go along with the initiative. John Adams, of Knauf Insulation will be issuing a report today on the green mortgage plan. He has said he does not believe the energy savings initiative will take hold unless incentives are coupled with penalties for non-compliance. An announcement on possible penalties will not be made until later this year.
The goal of the Renewable Energy Strategy, which is to be announced Wednesday is for the UK to achieve cuts of 34% in CO2 emissions by the year 2020. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband recently said he wants 7 million homes to undergo upgrades by 2020, and the rest by 2030.