County Council issues advice to consumers as Government Green Homes Grant launches
Following the Government launch of the Green Homes Grant, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards service reminds residents to exercise caution if they are looking to use the grant for improvements to their homes.
The Green Homes Grant is an initiative to get homeowners to invest money in improving the energy-efficiency of their property whilst also giving the economy a much-needed boost.
The grant allows traders who are accredited to carry out the work requested. Eligible homeowners and landlords in England can apply for a voucher to cover some of the costs for installing energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to their homes.
But officers from across Nottinghamshire are concerned the door may be left open for fraudulent traders to exploit the trust of consumers who wish to access the grant scheme, to cost-effectively improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Councillor John Handley, Vice-Chairman of Communities and Place at Nottinghamshire County Council said, “Whilst the availability of the Green Homes Grant will undoubtably benefit the public, we are wary that criminals and unscrupulous traders may attempt to exploit the scheme.
“We therefore want to promote the grant scheme whilst providing advice to the members of the public who may be thinking of taking advantage of the opportunity. We want to help homeowners find legitimate traders so that both the public and legitimate businesses can all benefit from the greater good of the environment.”
James Delaney a Team Manager from Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards states; “The Green Homes Grant is a great way to get traders working on projects again, particularly if they have been adversely affected by lockdown.
“However, we are urging the public to be vigilant when choosing traders to carry out work in their homes. Unfortunately, criminals may attempt to exploit the existence of the grant scheme and use it to mislead customers into agreeing to expensive, inappropriate and substandard work.
“We therefore offer the following advice. Never respond to traders who use unsolicited means to contact you such as cold calling. Make sure you obtain paperwork from the trader displaying their businesses identity and request proof of their accreditation to the grant scheme. You can then independently verify the traders’ identity and accreditation to the grant scheme by searching on www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk or calling 0800 444202.
“In addition to the above, ensure that you gather a range of quotes from accredited traders. This should help you to decide whether the proposed work is competitive, appropriate for your particular type of property and also your personal circumstances.”
If you have any concerns about work that has been undertaken using the grant scheme, or if you have been approached by a suspicious trader operating in this field, you can report it to Trading Standards using the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.
Further details about the grant along with a search engine to find accredited traders in your area can also be found on the government website www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme.