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We’re losing our green homes grant because of supply problems

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We are renovating a 1950s bungalow that still has coal-fired central heating and we had planned to install a new clean heating system.

Just before the government axed its green homes grant scheme, we applied and were delighted when it got in touch in late June to tell us that we had been accepted, and would be able to receive £5,000 towards the £15,000 cost of insulating the home and installing an air source heat pump system.

The voucher had an initial deadline of 30 August 2021. I requested an extension (due to the amount of time it would take us to do the necessary work) and was told it could be extended to 30 December 2021.

A week later, it emailed again to say that it had made an error and the voucher could only be extended to 30 November, because that was when it closed. It seems that if we can’t get the work done by the deadline, we lose the £5,000.

We have worked flat out to get it all ready, but have now discovered that the heat pump hasn’t been dispatched from the manufacturer and it can’t say when it will arrive.

It seems very unfair that we will lose this grant due to the supply chain problems. I’ve requested a further extension and have been told it’s not possible to extend the voucher any further.

Our scheme’s viability rests on this.

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DT, Berwick-upon-Tweed

The £1.5bn green homes grant was launched last year and was supposed to offer households up to £10,000 to improve their home with better insulation and cleaner heating.

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It was designed to help people in exactly your kind of property. However, almost immediately it ran into difficulties and was finally scrapped in March. You must have been one of the last households approved for the grant.

Completely insulating a home and installing a new air source heating system with underfloor heating was always going to be tight in just over four months, even before the current supply chain problems hit.

I asked the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy about your case, and it has now intervened. You have been offered a month’s extension to complete the work – until 30 December.

“There may be some limited and very exceptional cases where the voucher deadline could be extended, and applicants should discuss their case with the scheme administrator,” it says.

Meanwhile, it’s worth others noting that the boiler upgrade scheme, that replaces the green homes initiative and offers £5,000 vouchers to households, opens for business next April, so start planning now.

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