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Conservationists Warn Green Deal Will Damage Old Buildings

Conservationists warn that the Green Deal plans are ‘seriously flawed’ and will cause irreparable damage to the 25% of Britain’s buildings that are of traditional solid wall construction.

The criticisms have been raised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC) and other conservation professionals following a conference on Improving Thermal Performance in Traditional Buildings held by COTAC. Their concerns follow the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) launch on 23 November of a consultation into the Green Deal plan, and the announcement of a further £200m funding for the initiative that will enable homes and businesses to install energy-saving measures in their properties with no upfront costs.

“When modern energy efficiency solutions are used on older buildings they can be extremely harmful,” said IHBC education secretary John Preston. “The Green Deal’s ‘one size fits all’ approach will cause unnecessary damage to the character and fabric of historic buildings and incur significant long-term costs for property owners while wasting millions of pounds of public money.”

SPAB chairman David Heath added: “The application of external insulation, which is a key part of the Green Deal initiative, will be particularly damaging to historic and traditionally constructed buildings by changing their appearance, dimensions and methods of collecting and discharging rainwater. These structures need to ‘breathe’ and moisture trapped within walls could lead to serious health risks for both occupants and buildings.”

IHBC, SPAB and COTAC say that Green Deal proposals need urgent improvement if the government’s climate change aims are to be achieved without harming the character of towns and cities.

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