'Far too slow': MPs investigate UK's energy efficiency progress
MPs have launched an inquiry which will examine the Government's approach to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the UK, with current progress deemed as "far too slow".
The two-month inquiry will look at current progress within domestic, commercial and public-sector buildings, and whether current energy efficiency measures are enough to help the UK meet its Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets.
The BEIS Committee will focus on action to upgrade the energy efficiency of fuel-poor homes, as well as efforts to ensure growth and productivity is boosted by energy-efficient commercial and public buildings.
BEIS Committee Chair Rachel Reeves MP said: “Energy efficiency is vital to cutting the costs of energy for homes and businesses and is a cost-effective method of reducing our carbon emissions. In spite of this, and the inclusion of energy efficiency targets in the Clean Growth Strategy, the current rate of improvements to buildings is far too slow.
“Our inquiry will examine the Government’s approach to energy efficiency, whether it is showing enough ambition in helping to tackle fuel poverty and in encouraging homeowners, businesses and landlords to upgrade. We will also be keen to explore the additional measures which may be needed to deliver energy efficiency improvements that could bring significant benefits for individuals, the economy and the environment.”
The launch of the inquiry comes on the same day as a report found that UK's transition to a low-carbon economy is masking stark regional divides, with regions such as the North of England and East Midlands being left behind. Some of these regions are suffering from low energy efficiency ratings, researchers from Imperial College London found – the cost of heating, combined with lower average incomes in these areas mean that fuel poverty rates are particularly high.
In April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) entered into force, imposing new rules on both domestic and commercial properties within the private rental sector.
The Government has made energy efficiency a major focal point of its Clean Growth Strategy, in light of reports which suggest the UK will not meet its 2030 goals to boost energy efficiency in its housing stock until the end of the century.
Last month, Antoinette Sandbach MP wrote an exclusive blog for edie on the importance of energy efficiency in the UK, a year on from the publication of the Clean Growth Strategy.
The BEIS Committee is inviting written submissions on the following points.
- Overarching approach: Who should have responsibility to pay for energy efficiency? Should energy efficiency be considered a national infrastructure priority?
- Existing housing stock: Are the Government's targets to improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of our existing housing stock ambitious enough? Is there sufficient support in place to deliver targets for all homes to be EPC band C by 2035? Is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) an adequate mechanism to ensure fuel-poor homes are upgraded to EPC band C by 2030?
- Private rented sector: Are the Government's private rented sector regulations for energy efficiency for both residential and commercial buildings ambitious enough? Are there implementation and enforcement challenges that need to be remedied?
- Regional disparities: Are there regional disparities, including in off-grid areas, in the delivery, costs and uptake of energy efficiency measures? If so, how could these be overcome?
- Non-domestic sector: What does existing evidence indicate about progress being made towards greater energy efficiency in public and commercial buildings?
- Lessons to learn: What lessons can be learnt from the devolved administrations on delivering energy efficiency measures?
Submissions can be made on the Committee’s website. The deadline is Thursday 17 January 2019.