The number of households applying for the Green Deal has fell for the third month in row according to figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

At the end of December 2013 there had been a total of 129,842 Green Deal Assessments lodged. The number of Green Deal Assessments in December was 21 per cent lower than in November, just over 12,000.

By the end of December, only 626 households had had measures fully installed and financed by the flagship scheme, which allows householders to borrow money for energy efficiency improvements to their homes, paying the loans back via their electricity bill.

The Government kick-started the scheme with a cash-back offer and this has proved more successful; the 8,773 cashback applications that had been paid for amounted to £2.5m. Most of the cashback applications were for boiler replacements, which qualify for help under the terms of the deal but make a relatively small impact on overall energy use, partly because many households are already under-heating their homes because of high energy costs.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK’s Green Building Council, said: “This latest set of figures, coming a year since the policy launched, should come as a wake-up call to government that the green deal is not delivering in its current form.

“Government must recognise energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority and be prepared to delve into its purse to make its flagship policy more appealing through stronger incentives and more attractive finance options.”