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Kent households miss out in government's Green Homes Grant scheme to help reduce energy bills


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A flagship government scheme designed to help houses be more energy efficient benefited just 150 homes in Kent, figures show.

Under the Green Homes Grant scheme, homeowners were able to apply for cash to help meet the costs of improvements that enabled them to rely less on traditional energy sources.

A renewable energy grant scheme was shut early after it reached just a fraction of the households it was supposed to. Picture: Istock
A renewable energy grant scheme was shut early after it reached just a fraction of the households it was supposed to. Picture: Istock

The government made the scheme eligible to 600,000 households with claims it could cut as much as £600 from their annual energy bills.

However, the initiative was beset by problems and ended up benefitting only 47,500 homes nationally, according to figures.

The take-up in Kent saw just 150 grants awarded across the county. Six grants went to households in Dover and six to Tunbridge Wells – making them the joint worst areas in the county.

Take-up was modest even in those parts of Kent where the numbers were highest: Thanet saw 25 grants approved, followed by 24 in Canterbury.

Swale saw 16 grants approved, followed by Ashford and Sevenoaks with 15, Gravesham 13, Maidstone and Dartford 12, Folkestone 11, Tonbridge and Malling 10.

Mark Hood, a Green Party county councillor, says the way the government handled its renewable energy grant scheme was frustrating
Mark Hood, a Green Party county councillor, says the way the government handled its renewable energy grant scheme was frustrating

Across the Medway area, there were 46 successful applications for grants.

Households could apply for vouchers up to £5,000 to help meet the costs of insulation and low-carbon heating systems.

It targeted help for low-income households with more generous grants of up to £10,000 towards improvements. But take-up was poor with just 15,182 homes securing grants.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pulled the plug early – it had been set to run until March 31, 2022, but was scrapped last year. It reached just 10% of the 600,000 homes.

The scheme ran into a series of problems, with delays in providing money to contractors, bureaucratic processes and difficulty finding accredited contractors.

It was scrapped in March 2021 and in the same month a select committee of MPs said it had been “botched [in] implementation” and that the administration had been “nothing short of disastrous”.

Green county councillor Mark Hood, who represents Tonbridge on Kent County Council, said the scheme was not thought through and was implemented too quickly.

"It was done in a hurry so that you only had three months to spend your voucher.

"There weren't a lot of companies had the skill set to actually implement the renewable energy part of the scheme and it's just frustrating.

"They need to give councils the money. They just need to delegate the way that this is done, so people like KCC can work with the districts and they say, we've got the pot of money.

"This is what this is, what's been allocated."

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