Friends of Earth calls for council tax rebates for green homeowners

Friends of the Earth has made a plea to the chancellor to pour out over 2bn to encourage homeowners to get green.

This call follows the green pressure group writing a letter to housing minister, Yvette Copper that has been leaked to Mortgage Strategy.

This will involve Council Tax rebates and exemption of VAT on environmental refurbishments for green-fingered homeowners.

The letter says: We are asking the chancellor at the forthcoming budget to provide 1.4bn to fund a national scheme of Council Tax rebates for those wishing to install cavity wall or loft insulation, and a further 1bn to fund a quantum leap in the grants available for the installation of renewable micro-generation technologies.

The letter adds: We would also urge the government to cut the rate of VAT on high environmental quality refurbishments and to bring in a Stamp Duty rebate for home buyers making substantial energy efficiency improvements to a building within a fixed period of purchase.

In the letter, Friends of the Earth also dismissed calls for the postponement of the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates by the Better Regulation Commission and others, and urges the government to roll-out the EPCs as originally planned.

The letter says: Friends of the Earth believes that EPCs could be a powerful and effective policy if combined with other measures to help make it cheaper and easier for homeowners to cut their carbon emissions and save money.

Mike Ockenden, director general of AHIPP, says: We are delighted that Friends of the Earth have taken the trouble to write to the minister and we welcome its intervention.

He adds: We dont understand where there should be any cause for delays.

But CML who is a member of the BRC says despite the fact that it would broadly support the implementation of an independent green body its reservations about EPCs remain in place.

A spokesman says there is no need for the EPC to be produced at the sale of every home and it should only be carried out every 10 years.

He adds: There are not enough energy assessors. There is a clear case for postponing the plan.