The comments, from Paul Joyner, director of Sustainable Building Solutions, part of the Travis Perkins Group, were delivered in a speech to the Green Building Council which identified the key challenges facing the Green Deal and poured scorn on the idea that there is no demand.
He said: “There are issues with the Green Deal, but they are at a much deeper level than ‘the consumer just doesn’t understand how it works’. That is condescending and downright wrong – 38,000 evaluations testify to the fact that this is not a demand issue.”
Mr Joyner identified access to finance as the key problem, but was sympathetic to the problems faced by Green Deal finance companies, both in terms of the technology being used and the need for consumer protection.
“The Green Deal finance companies are being very diligent in these early stages and are also acutely aware that their systems are brand new and not fully tested. This has led to understandable delays.”
He also appealed for some perspective. “We are six months into one of the most complex interfaces between utility companies, the finance industry, manufacturers, distributors, installers and consumers ever attempted in this country. It was always going to take time.”
The Green Deal has come in for significant criticism in recent weeks, due to the DECC statistics for the first six months which showed only four approved schemes have been put in place.
Mr Joyner added: “The big challenge we face is the sniping and unwarranted criticism which could de-rail the whole scheme. Yes, mistakes have been made, not least in terms of managing expectations by under-promising, but this is a long-term scheme designed to deal with the issue of this country’s ageing and poorly insulated housing stock, not a short-term fix.”