Green Homes Grant

Homeowners, residential landlords (including local authorities and housing associations) can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to your home.

Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces.

Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000.

If you, or someone in your household, receive certain benefits you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000. Check if you’re eligible for the low income support scheme.

Landlords are not eligible for low income support.

Vouchers must be redeemed and improvements must be completed by 31 March 2021.

All work covered by the voucher must be completed by a TrustMark-registered installer who is also registered for the scheme. Your installer will also need to meet PAS and MCS standards when installing your measures.

How can vouchers be used

The available measures are split into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ measures.

The voucher must be used to install at least 1 primary measure: Insulation or Low carbon heat, and secondary measures up to the cost of the primary measure(s), including: Windows and doors, Heating controls and insulation. Costs that are covered by the voucher include labour, materials and VAT.

New British standard for biodegradable plastic introduced

A new British standard for biodegradable plastic is being published which scientists say will cut through a jungle of classifications that leave consumers confused.

Plastic claiming to be biodegradable will have to pass a test to prove it breaks down into a harmless wax which contains no microplastics or nanoplastics in order to make the grade, published by the British Standards Institution.

The benchmark for the new standard was reached by a British company called Polymateria, which has created a formula to transform plastic items such as bottles, cups and film into a sludge at a specific moment in the product’s life.

Once the breakdown of the product begins, most items will have decomposed down to carbon dioxide, water and sludge within two years, triggered by sunlight, air and water.

The products that can be transformed include the most common litter items, such as food cartons, food films and bottles. It’s designed to be part of a wider series of solutions to the problem of plastic pollution on the planet.

For more about this exciting development, see an article in the Guardian.

Plastic straws and cotton buds are banned in England from 1 October

From 1 October, single use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds has come into force. it is now illegal for businesses to sell or supply these items, with exceptions being made for hospitals, bars and restaurants who are still able to to supply them to people with disabilities or medical conditions who need them.

More measures are being called for, and the government is committed to reducing other single-use plastic items.

See the BBC for a short report, plus a video around small steps each of us can take to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we consume.

Families becoming greener during lockdown

A survey carried out by Princes Fish shows that a third of UK households have become greener during lockdown, taking steps such as recycling more (and more carefully), turning off unused lights, and showering instead of bathing. Using up leftovers to cut down on food waste is also taking place more.

See an article in the Independent for more information.