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A third of Brits use green energy
Almost a third of Britons use green electricity, according to a survey. While 70 per cent of Britons are buying electricity from traditional energy providers, 30 per cent are seeking out energy tariffs that reduce their carbon emissions. Tell me more...

Make your home greener or pay higher council tax, Government says

14th July 2009 – Daily Mail

Householders should face higher council tax and stamp duty if they refuse to make their homes greener, Government advisers say.
Those who do not have double glazing or insulation would be hammered under proposals drawn up by an environmental pressure group which will be considered by ministers.

They want the punishments to be brought in alongside 'green mortgages', under which homeowners can apply for loans to spend on energy-efficient equipment such as new boilers and even solar panels.

Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband is expected to welcome the green mortgage plan, but will not make an announcement on the penalties until the autumn.
John Adams, who came up with controversial proposals for the UK Green Buildings Council, said the green loans idea would take off only if the 'carrot and stick' approach was employed.

The loans would be offered by the Government to fund environmentally friendly schemes such as double glazing, loft and cavity wall insulation, solar panels and wind turbines.

Mr Adams said householders who refused to take part in the scheme could face higher council tax rates and, when they sell, the threat of raised stamp duty which could put off prospective buyers.

Last night Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is absolutely shocking that the Government is still threatening new bogus green taxes when taxpayers are already paying a fortune in higher prices for their electricity, gas and petrol thanks to ineffective global warming policies.
'Over the years families have steadily improved the energy efficiency of their homes and most suitable homes now have features such as loft insulation and double glazing.

'There is no evidence the public aren't already deploying cost-effective efficiency measures. There is no need for these new taxes that will punish people already paying a heavy price for the Government's clumsy and failing energy agenda.'

The green mortgage plan is part of a report to be issued tomorrow by Mr Adams, of Knauf Insulation, which provides loft and cavity wall insulation.
Mr Adams said: 'The aim is to make the monthly repayments so small that they will be outstripped by the savings on energy bills – meaning householders will actually save money by taking the loans.'

For example, officials have calculated that a typical Victorian end of terrace house would spend £10,280 on energy-saving measures. This would lead to annual repayments of £514 a year, compared to energy savings of £802 - a profit of £288 a year.

The mortgages will be made available by high street banks in partnership with councils. The loans would be worth £10,000 to £15,000 and would be repayable over 25 years or so. If the house was sold, the charge would go to the new owner.

Ministers may also relax planning rules, which could see wind turbines on roofs even in conservation areas and on listed buildings.
Wind power has been put at the heart of a Renewable Energy Strategy, due to be announced on Wednesday. It will outline how Britain will achieve a 34 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2020 and could see the number of wind turbines quadruple over the next decade.

But the CBI has called on the Government to focus more on building new nuclear and coal power stations with carbon emission-capturing technology.
It said Britain was moving towards overreliance on gas for electricity if wind targets could not be met.

Critics to the new strategy say it could see the removal of period features such as Victorian sash windows, which are in fact energy efficient.
Mr Miliband has already said he wants 7million homes to have undergone energy-efficient upgrades by 2020, and the rest by 2030.

While he is expected to back the main proposals behind the green mortgage plan, he will not announce until the autumn whether he will accept penalties based on stamp duty and council tax.