Government energy policies risk failure without a national communications strategy

New initiatives to reduce energy use risk a lack of take up by the public due to the absence of a government-backed national communications strategy, according to a report from think tank Green Alliance and its Green Living Consortium, which includes Scottish Power, Asda, Kellogg’s, Groundwork, PepsiCo and WRAP.

The government has invested time and money in developing schemes such as the Green Deal and the smart meter roll-out. But their success will depend on public engagement.

Neither sermons nor silence: the case for national communications on energy shows why the government’s current communications plans for energy schemes are unlikely to secure the take up and interest needed, putting them at risk of failure.

The report looks at lessons from other high profile campaigns like the recent digital switchover and Change4Life. They clearly show the importance of a government-backed, national level brand and communications strategy in supporting policy delivery, securing the trust of the public, enabling wider messengers and changing behaviour. The government plans to rely on multiple, dispersed communications by those delivering energy schemes, which will lack coherence and will not be effective. The report also demonstrates that national communications can be affordable and should be seen as a key part of ensuring that schemes are a success.

Faye Scott, Green Alliance’s head of research, said: “There is a huge risk that the government’s current plans for communications won’t deliver the levels of public engagement and take up needed to make sure that schemes like the Green Deal are a success. There are clear calls from the businesses and organisations that will be delivering the schemes for strong, trusted national branding to complement their own efforts.”

For more information contact Faye Scott, head of research, on 07932 845 330.