Bad news or hint of an opportunity?

29th July 2015

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Central government ,
  • Construction ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Renewable


Anthony Higgins

In July, the budget and productivity report caused more than a few ripples.

Many environmentalists were angered by announcements on dropping plans for higher onsite energy efficiency, as well as a separate target for zero-carbon emissions for non-domestic buildings by 2019. The zero-carbon target would have ensured all new dwellings from 2016 would generate as much energy onsite – through renewable sources, such as wind or solar – as they would use for heating, hot water and lighting. This would have been accompanied by tighter energy efficiency standards and a scheme allowing housebuilders to deliver equivalent carbon savings offsite.

The chancellor’s statement that the new government will not extend the coalition’s commitment to increasing the proportion of revenue from environmental taxes into this parliament was also criticised (bottom, left). It came after earlier announcements on ending subsidies for onshore wind. Many in the renewables sector commented that the government was no longer providing industry with policy confidence, and that moving the “goalposts” earlier than planned could push some projects from profit into loss.

However, plans by the government to review the business energy efficiency tax and carbon reporting landscape (p.5), and consider approaches to improve their effectiveness may be a positive development. Some believe it is an opportunity to create a lasting policy landscape with longer-term price (tax) signals. A consultation is anticipated from September, and IEMA will be inviting Decc officials to workshops with members. Our pre-election polls indicate that most members want a reduction in the number of schemes that apply to the largest organisations. IEMA will be keen to ensure any new policy landscape is effective over the long term, and if possible extend policy drivers that support energy and low-carbon transition to other businesses.


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