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posted by Brad Hook on 15 December 2011

tags: Green Deal , Public Sector , HECA ,

For many of us, HECA (Home Energy Conservation Act 1995) was the very trigger for much of the work and projects that have taken place over the last 15 years. It was the instrument that created ‘Energy Conservation Authorities’ and required that annual reports detailing the energy efficiency improvement in residential accommodation were submitted to government. It also spawned various initiatives such as the HECAction funding programme and also led to the development of HECA fora and other partnerships across the nation.

However, when the Local Government Performance Framework came in together with National Indicator Set we witnessed more specific requirements in the form of NI’s 185,186, 187 etc. and HECA took a back seat. Although never formally repealed, the annual reporting requirement quietly sat on the shelf.

As the Energy Bill 2011 came into Parliament this summer many expected that HECA would be repealed.  However, it soon became clear that a ‘second life’ was on the cards for HECA. Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, announced that it would ‘form an important part of our strategy to ensure coherent and joined-up implementation of the green deal right across the country at the local authority and community levels’

The government made it clear that they don’t want Councils getting overloaded in ‘carbon complexity’ of data collection, but would rather they have a simple obligation to drive energy efficiency through their areas.

The specific amendments to note are as follows;

  • HECA will only apply in England and Northern Ireland
  • Alongside measures, ECAs will be able to provide ‘Any available financial assistance’ to reflect the opportunities for involvement in green deal.

Our further discussions with DECC have also highlighted the following points;

There won’t be any further guidance on this until Spring 2012 as the Government are keen to get Green Deal consultations concluded and then return to HECA

  • There is likely to be provision in HECA for the more ambitious LAs to set higher targets.
  • There may be some reference to the revised Nottingham Declaration.
  • ECAs won’t be required to do any data reporting. DECC say that they have every households meter data and there is simply no need for individual ECAs to put resources into this area.
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