More than a third of local authorities flouting European energy regulations

More than a third of local authorities across England and Wales are in breach of a European energy efficiency directive, according to the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA).

At the beginning of the year, PEPA used a Freedom of Information (Fol) request to ask all authorities whether they complied with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

While 58% of authorities confirmed they complied with the directive, 30% advised they were non-compliant and a further 12% did not respond.

PEPA says it issued the FoI request after it discovered that the Government was failing to track how millions of pounds of tax payer’s money, allocated to ensuring authorities complied with the directive, was being spent.

Launched in 2007, the EPBD requires that a Display Energy Certificate (DEC), which details a building’s energy consumption, should be on display in all public buildings more than 500 square metres.

The Government allocated £3.4m in the tax year 2008/9 and a further £1.9m each year since, to assist local authorities in covering these new duties.

PEPA chairman Stephen O’Hara claimed that non-compliant authorities were missing out on the potential for DECs to save them energy and money and that by flouting the regulations, they were unfairly costing tax payers.

“It is unbelievable that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) sits on its hands in these times of austerity and watches local authorities fritter away money on high energy costs.

“It seems that the Secretary of State Eric Pickles does not understand why improving energy efficiency is so vital, not just to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, but for the economy,” he said.

In related news, environment and engineering consultancy WSP, have today warned that 17% of the UK’s investment real estate could be unfit for let in five years’ time, under Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations.

The provisions, detailed in the Energy Act, make it mandatory for commercial properties with a poor energy rating (lower than ‘E’) to be brought up to standard before they can be let.

WSP’s research, from analysis of more than 4,000 EPCs it has undertaken since its inception in 2008, shows that this could apply to approximately 17% of commercial property, rising to 35% if ‘E’ rated buildings are included.

According to the research, EPCs are benchmarked by building regulations which are continually updated and revised, meaning that even ‘safe’ ratings such as ‘E’ and ‘D’ may not meet the standards required in 2018.

Conor McGlone

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie