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Government tells mortgage industry to go green

The Government is calling on mortgage lenders to provide green mortgages to help save the environment.

As part of its latest update on the implementation of home information packs, Housing Minister Yvette Cooper says energy performance certificates in Hips should be linked to incentives such as green mortgages. It also wants schemes run by energy companies to be set up that give homebuyers cash upfront to make energy saving alterations to their houses.

The Government has also pledged £4m of funding to support six area trials for Hips in Bath, Newcastle, Southampton, Northampton, Huddersfield and Cambridge in November. to help test both the packs and full home condition reports.

In setting out the next steps on EPCs, the Minister said she would be meeting mortgage lenders and energy companies to discuss the development of these kinds of incentives.

EPCs, energy ratings for homes similar to consumer-friendly ‘fridge ratings’, will be compulsory as part of Hips from June 1, 2007.

It says that if only one fifth of homeowners made the basic changes set out in their EPC they could save around £100m a year on their energy bills and cut carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the roads.

Cooper says: “We all need to work together to tackle climate change. Twenty-seven per cent of carbon emissions come from homes. Until now, householders haven’t had energy efficiency facts about their houses upfront; but next June every homebuyer will know exactly how energy efficient their homes are – and how they can improve this. Why shouldn’t this information be used by mortgage lenders or energy companies?

“Other countries offer green mortgages which give homebuyers money to meet the costs of making energy saving improvements. In England, sixteen councils have piloted schemes with energy companies where council tax rebates are offered to people who make energy saving changes to their homes. EPCs offer great scope for incentives like these.”

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