Fewer than 200 homes have signed up for the government's flagship Green Deal scheme, according to the BBC and national newspapers.
Over 18,000 Green Deal assessments have been carried out since the scheme was launched at the end of January this year, but BBC Radio 4's You And Yours programme has claimed that less than 200 people have gone on to sign Green Deal loan agreements.
The Sun's environment editor Ben Jackson has said this number is actually nearer 100, with only three agreeing to repay the loan through additional payments on their energy bills. The other 97, he said, have instead chosen to pay by monthly direct debit.
The Green Deal scheme has £200 million of government funding allocated by Chancellor George Osborne, intended to encourage people to upgrade their homes with more energy-efficient systems including cavity wall insulation, new boilers and solar panels. The loans are subject to 7% interest charges and are to be repaid over a maximum of 25 years. This, the government believes, will help improve the efficiency of the UK's housing stock and reduce energy bills.
Industry comments suggest that homeowners are being put off from the scheme by concerns that attaching the loan to the property may be a deterrent to potential buyers if the house is subsequently put on the market, while technical problems that have delayed the funding have also been an issue.
Speaking in March, Energy Minister Greg Barker said he hoped to have at least 10,000 people signed up to the Green Deal by the end of the year.
“Official numbers on installations and Green Deal Plans will be available at the end of June.”