One of Britain's largest energy saving installation companies, Mark Group, has announced that consultations have begun on the redundancy of up to 670 employees, representing about a quarter of its UK workforce.

The move follows changes to the Government’s Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme and the closure of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which have significantly reduced demand for domestic energy efficiency installation work.

“This is a very sad day for our business and all who may be affected by the redundancy programme,” said Mark Group’s chief commercial officer Bill Rumble. “We had geared our workforce up to meet the expected demand for insulation and other energy efficiency installation work as a result of the ECO scheme, but changes to its structure have had knock on effects that we can no longer avoid.

“Our core UK business remains robust and the need for effective energy efficiency solutions is as significant as ever, however we recognise that we will need to operate with a smaller workforce until there is a clear and consistent approach to energy efficiency policy.”

Mark Group is headquartered in Leicester with 14 depots around the UK. The redundancies are likely to be implemented evenly across the group’s UK operations. Its businesses in the US and Australia are unaffected.

In light of this, the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) has called for political parties to put their differences aside and focus on stability for the industry.

“This is a very sad day indeed; these jobs are at risk as a direct result of short term changes in government policy, driven by hasty politics. As we head towards the election, it is crucial that energy efficiency is no longer used as a political football, and that party politics are removed from the equation,” said chief executive of SEA Dave Sowden.

“Instead, it’s vital to establish a stable, long term policy framework for energy efficiency – one that delivers the cleanest and most cost effective way to meet all of our energy objectives. As part of our 2015 Manifesto, we appeal to all political parties to support our ambitious programme for change. This will provide policy stability so confidence can be rebuilt in the sector leading to a more affordable and secure energy future for the UK.”