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Botched Gov’t Tax Scheme Ruins 1.5 Million Homes With Shoddy Insulation

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A botched U.K. government tax scheme to make homes more energy efficient ended up poorly insulating 1.5 million houses, spreading mold and lowering property values.

Faulty insulation caused dampness and mold in homes along with foul smells. About one-quarter of the homes had crumbling plaster and stained walls. All of these problems lowered home values in the name of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through energy efficiency.

“Contractors were desperate to mop up vast sums of money made available by energy firms on the back of Government green targets,” Stephen Hodgson, a spokesperson for the government-sponsored Property Care Association, told The Daily Mail.

A survey of 250,000 properties by a thermal-imaging company found that the insulation causes problems somewhere in between a quarter to half of homes studied. Roughly six million British houses had this type of insulation installed in years since 1995.

The British government heavily promoted the scheme by hiring call centers and door-to-door salesmen.

Three other major green energy scandals have hit the U.K. this month.

The country wasted $206 million on a failed green subsidy scheme, according to a report last week by the British National Audit Office (NAO).  NAO found the government started a carbon capture and storage technology competition without an agreement on the cost. This ultimately led to the Treasury withdrawing $1.21 billion in pledged financial support for the project, triggering its cancellation after $206 million had been spent.

Another scandal involved a heavily-subsidized anaerobic digester power plant, which discharged toxic waste into an eight-mile stretch of river, killing thousands of fish earlier this month. The individual plant has been responsible for 12 other “serious pollution incidents” since 2015, according to locals who spoke to The Daily Mail.

One day later, a botched green energy subsidy scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive brought down Northern Ireland’s governing coalition. The program cost U.K. taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, despite initial cost projections of $40 million.

A whistleblower claimed program recipients manipulated it to receive about $200 dollars in subsidies for every $120 they spent on green fuel, according to The Times. A report by Northern Ireland’s auditor-general acknowledged that some individuals may have reaped about $1.1 million in profits though the scheme.

As a result of heavy subsidies and grants, Brits paid an average of 54 percent more for electricity than Americans paid last year. Expensive subsidies for green energy account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to government study released last July.

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Andrew Follett
the authorAndrew Follett
I hold a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Science and Technology Policy from George Mason University, as well as a Bachelor of Science from the College of William & Mary, where I double-majored in Government and Geology and authored two theses. I have done research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. I have also worked as an analyst providing research and analytical support for the Department of Energy, the Office of Petroleum Reserves, NOAA, and FEMA.

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