Greg Barker’s comments comparing critics of the government’s green agenda to the Taliban may have been intemperate, but they highlight a real risk to the delivery of the objectives of the Green Deal later this year.
Here’s an anecdote. Having got involved in our local transition town movement this time last year, we’re now looking at putting together an application for the LEAF programme – announced in-mid December, to be submitted by 20 Jan, and work completed by the end of March. So no pressure there then. And this places a huge burden on all of us in the Big Society (straight faces, please) to develop innovative market-preparation work for the government, at no charge, while we get on with the pressing business of remaining economically active during a recession.
The net result is that – however well-intentioned the grant programme – an impression is created of adhoc and disconnected policy which relies on the bottomless goodwill of community groups to deliver. This in turn corrodes that goodwill, and makes it less likely that the next announcement will be taken at face value. Unfortunate, but there you are. The reality is that sustainability and renewables are the obvious driver of a new tech economy, and it’s never been more important that the government is as one in its commitment to it. Chancellor, please take note.