1. EPCs FOR LISTED BUILDINGS and MEES

    August 22, 2017

    GUIDE TO MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE STANDARDS/EPCs FOR LISTED BUILDINGS ETC

    (with thanks to the Residential Landlords Association for this article at www.rla.org.uk)

    Introduction

    It is unclear whether landlords of listed buildings have to provide EPCs to their tenants when the property is rented out. It is also unclear whether landlords of listed buildings are subject to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards which take effect from 2018 onwards. From April 2018 for new lets and from April 2020 for existing lets the property will have to have a minimum E rating but these standards only “bite” if a property has an EPC. There will also be an exemption to prevent excessive sums having to be spent on works but as yet no details of this are settled. As from the 1st October 2015, in order to rely on Section 21 to regain possession, you must have supplied an EPC to the tenant, if one is required.

    The requirement for an EPC

    The legal basis in the United Kingdom for the requirement for energy performance certificates on the sale or letting of buildings are contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Recast) 2010/31/EU. This lays down, among other things, a common methodology for assessing the energy performance of buildings. Paragraph 1 of Article 4 to the Directive headed “Setting of Minimum Energy Performance Requirements” lays down a number of measures which member States are required to implement. These include –

    • Ensuring that minimum energy performance requirements for buildings are set and that energy performance is to be calculated in accordance with the methodology referred to in Article 3 of the Directive.
    • Ensuring that minimum energy performance requirements are set for building elements. Member States can differentiate between new and existing buildings.

    Paragraph 2 stipulates that Member States may decide not to set or apply these requirements in certain categories of buildings, including “Buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”.

    Member states are required to see that these requirements are complied with in the case of new buildings or substantial refurbishments. In practice for listed buildings this means the EU dimension is only potentially relevant to renovations which an owner may choose to carry out and is not relevant to across the board mandatory minimum energy efficiency requirements.

    Under Article 11 (Energy Performance Certificates) Member States are required to lay down measures to establish a system of certification of the energy performance of buildings. Energy performance certificates are to include the energy performance of a building. The certificate must include recommendations for improvements.

    Article 12 (Issue of Energy Performance Certificates) goes onto provide that Member States must ensure that an EPC is issued for buildings which are constructed, sold or rented out to a new tenant. When buildings are constructed, sold or rented out the EPC or a copy of this must be shown to the prospective new tenant or buyer and handed over to them.

    Importantly, Paragraph 6 of Article 12 provides “Member States may exclude the categories of buildings referred to in Article 4(2) from the application of paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 5 of this Article.” Paragraph 1 requires the issue of an EPC. Paragraph 2 requires that the EPC is produced/handed over when a property is, amongst other things, rented out. Paragraph 4 stipulates that the energy performance indicator of the EPC must be stated in advertisements for, amongst other things, rent. Paragraph 5 relates to jointly owned property.

    EPCs and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

    Whilst EPCs are key to the implementation of minimum efficiency standards in the PRS, because of them being triggered by a low EPC rating, the legislation requiring these is not of European origin. It is imposed by domestic UK legislation under the Energy Act. 2011. However, under that Act it is a prerequisite for having to comply that there is a valid EPC in the first place.

    Exemptions

    It should be noted that beside listed buildings etc., other buildings are exempt such as places of worship, temporary buildings, short term use residential buildings and small buildings.

    When it comes to minimum energy efficiency requirements it makes sense to exempt listed buildings from the requirements which must be devised under Article 4 insofar as compliance with these requirements would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building. Simply having an EPC prepared and issued could not damage the building. This kind of qualification only appears in the case of protected/listed building; not in any of the other Article 4(2) exemptions There is no similar qualification in respect of the other types of exempt buildings listed out in Paragraph 2 under Article 4. There are other qualifications but these relate to by whom and how the building is used so they do not pose any similar difficulty in interpreting exemptions.

    When it comes to the Article 12 exemption from the need to obtain/issue an EPC the reference is to excluding “the categories of building” referred to in Article 4(2). The reference is to categories of building. When it comes to interpreting Article 4 exemptions for the purposes of the Article 12 exemption provisions it could therefore be argued that it makes sense to omit the qualification “insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”. This is about the categorisation of work which can be done to the building; not the building’s categorisation.

    Therefore, if this is legally the permissible approach, in the context of the Paragraph 6 exemption in Article 12 it should be read as giving authority to exempt “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural historical merit” from the scope of the need to issue/provide an EPC disregarding the caveat as this is nothing to do with the category into which the building falls. After all the caveat is about categorising the nature of the requirements themselves and not the nature of the building.

    Implementation in the UK

    It needs to be stressed that exemptions are discretionary so a Member State can decide whether or not to take advantage of them.

    The provisions of the Directive (i.e. in respect of EPCs but not minimum energy efficiency requirements) are implemented in England and Wales by virtue of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012. Regulation 5 (application of Part 2) states that this part does not apply to buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural historical merit, insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance. This is a copy out from the terms of the Directive itself, in line with Government policy to implement directives generally by “copy out”. Part 2 requires –

    • An energy performance certificate on sale and rent.
    • An EPC on marketing.
    • Provisions to what an EPC must incorporate.
    • Display of EPCs in larger buildings used by the public.
    • Provision of the EPC indicator in advertisements.
    • Production or copies of EPCs.

    As can be seen none of these duties could be said to endanger the fabric of protected/listed buildings. Nevertheless, the caveat has been copied out as if it were an exemption from the requirements under Article 4 which can involve physical interference with the building, as opposed to an exemption from the requirements under Article 12 relating to EPCs and their production.

    However, this is what the UK spells out so, on the face of it the regulations therefore only exempt listed buildings from the need to provide an EPC where you can demonstrate that it would not unacceptably alter the character/appearance of the building, which is a palpable nonsense. If they were exempted from the requirements how could you know which building is or is not exempt?

    Would the UK be in breach of the directive if the exemption simply referred to listed buildings?

    Article 12 does give the discretion to the UK Government to exclude certain categories of buildings and it is this cross reference under this exemption under Article 12 to the exemption under Article 4 which is causing the problems.

    History of the exemption

    The history of how this came about is set out in the Impact Assessment regarding the introduction of the recast Directive. The exemption did not appear in the earlier EPC Regulations. This is attached. It focuses on Article 4; not the Article 12/13 provisions which actually relate to EPCs. The figures in the Assessment assume that ALL listed buildings are exempt!

    Resolving the problem

    As already indicated, this dilemma could arguably be solved by simply omitting the caveat regarding unacceptable alterations. Then the reading of Article 12 would be such that the exemption can be legitimately framed in the terms of the category of the building itself. So, all listed buildings would be exempt, rather than determining exemptions by the nature of works and whether they may or may not affect its character/appearance. However, the UK has not so far done this in the UK Regulations, which, taken at their face value, only exempt them in terms of the caveat. This is because of the discretion accorded to the UK to determine whether to apply exemptions.

    So in reality, in terms of an EPC, the caveat is meaningless. Therefore, a landlord cannot know if an EPC is needed before they have an EPC for the property.

    In any case an EPC does not determine what the Article 4 requirements are. This is the function of building regulations. All an EPC does is assess the rating, and separately make recommendations on work which may be done within the requirements. On the other hand, landlords can pre-classify works in accordance with efficiency improvement requirements laid down to comply with Article 4. This allows a landlord to determine in advance whether or not the building can be damaged as a consequence. Implementation of any requirements can then be planned accordingly.

    It is arguable that the UK Government has chosen to implement the exemption in relation to the preparation of EPCs in terms of likely damage so that in effect all protected/listed buildings to be rented out or sold have to have an EPC because the conditions of the UK formulation of the exemption will never be met. The simplest solution therefore is to omit the caveat in Regulation 5 (Paragraph (a)) so that the qualifying words regarding unacceptable alterations are omitted. The UK Government would have to be persuaded that this is permissible based on the argument set out above.

    Implementing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

    The UK Energy Act 2011, which has nothing to do with EU law, allows for exemptions to be prescribed by Regulations in relation to PRS minimum energy efficiency standards. In their response to the consultation when the Minimum Energy Standards Regulations were introduced, the Government stated that they proposed to mirror the scope of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 so only those buildings which may be required to obtain an EPC will be in scope. They then listed these out and again the caveat regarding unacceptable alterations to the character or appearance of the building was added. This clearly conflicts with what the Minister said at the time but the Regulations must prevail over what was announced.

    We also need to bear in mind that Guidance on the need for EPCs was published “Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings”. This was published in April 2014. This states that an EPC is generally not required where a building is protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit where compliance with certain minimum energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance. In other words, it is yet another copy out from the EPC Regulations, repeating the Directive again.

    The Listed Building “Exemption” for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

    The relevant regulations containing the exemption from the minimum standards made in the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. In effect there is a cross reference to the energy performance of building regulations relating to EPC requirements.

    The application of the minimum standards which is purely UK domestic legislation is framed by what is domestic PR property and non-domestic property. This is provided for in Section 42 of the Energy Act 2011. In the case of domestic PR property this is property let under certain types of tenancies (e.g. an assured shorthold). Under Section 43 of the 2011 Act the Secretary of State must make regulations for the purposes of securing that a landlord of a domestic PR property may not let a non-compliant property. This is to apply to such description of domestic PR properties as is provided for in the regulations in relation to which there is an EPC in place. The property must then fall below the level of energy efficiency (ascertained under an EPC), i.e. below an E rating. Key therefore to the application of the regulations is not only the existence of an EPC, but also that they must fall within the prescribed description of dwellings which rank as a domestic PR property. The supposed exclusion for listed buildings is described in the same terms as in the EPC Regulations.

    The relevant regulation is Regulation 19 of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Sector England and Wales) Regulations 2015. It states “for the purposes of the Act (i.e. the Energy Act 2011) domestic PR property means property which is within Section 42(1) of the Act subject to Paragraph (2))”.

    Importantly for our purposes Paragraph (2) goes onto say that the property is not a domestic PR property if –

    1. It was not required and is not part of a building which is required to have an EPC by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (the predecessor EPC regulations) and
    2. It is not required and is not part of a building which is required to have an EPC by the Building Regulations or the EPB Regulations (i.e. the 2012 Energy Performance and Building Regulations which are currently governing EPCs.

    The EPB Regulations provide an exemption under Regulation 5(1)(b) for “buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical nature, insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unaccepted alter their character or appearance”.

    It is important to note the words “insofar as” because this suggests that if there would be no unacceptable alterations then work could be done.

    In terms of a listed building this would mean that if there was a roof space then loft insulation would be possible. On the other hand, external cladding or internal solid wall insulation could well damage the fixtures of the building unacceptably. There are not likely to be cavities in most of the listed buildings. Double glazing is normally unacceptable. Secondary glazing may be acceptable depending on the circumstances.

    Importantly, the legislation is silent as to who makes the judgment.

    The two paragraphs above also raise a particular problem because on the face of it they are conjunctive. The earlier 2007 regulations did not include any exemption for listed buildings. Therefore, because these are apparently conjunctive provisions, arguably they would not comply at all. They only fall within paragraph (b) potentially; not paragraph (a). Can the word “and” in this context be read as “and/or”? “And” does not necessarily have to be conjunctive, so both requirements do not necessarily need to apply. It is accepted as a right interpretation that in some instances it can be disjunctive, meaning that one or the other may apply.

    Therefore, again, the result is that a number of further uncertainties are introduced by the actual wording of the exemption. Similar issues of course arise in the case of rented dwellings in conservation areas although more extensive work may be possible as these essentially protect the exterior rather than the interior of properties.

    Impact on landlords

    In a recent survey of our members regarding the implementation of energy efficiency minimum performance standards, considerable concern was raised by members about the application of the regulations to listed buildings. Not unsurprisingly a number pointed out the considerable practical difficulties, as well as legal constraints, around the works to listed buildings.

    No need to comply if there is no EPC

    The conundrum is that the exemption under those Regulations is yet again a copy out which is therefore in effect transposed into these regulations which lay down the requirements for the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. The regulations implementing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards have to be read in terms of the Energy Act 2011 itself. Under Section 43(1) of that Act not only does the property have to fall within the description of domestic privately rented property as provided for in the relevant regulations but there has to be an EPC in relation to the property, i.e. one actually in existence. Therefore, if you rely on the supposed exemption under the Energy Performance of Building Regulations to say that you are exempt from having an EPC, you are also in effect saying that you are exempt from compliance with the minimum energy performance requirements if they would otherwise apply. If you actually have an EPC you then have to consider whether, notwithstanding, the exemption applies should you have an F or G rating. The penalty for not having an EPC is much lower than the one for failing to comply with the minimum standards after all! It is better not to have an EPC.

    Even if you have an EPC for whatever reason, you are also exempt from having to comply with these minimum standards if you were not required to have one in the first place (notwithstanding that you actually have one). This, however, unfortunately brings us back to the ever repeated caveat regarding unacceptable alterations for the character/appearance of the building. In this context, however, the exemption does make sense. Works that do not damage the character/appearance have to be carried out to meet minimum energy efficiency requirements, but those that would adversely affect the building do not. However, this brings us back to the same point. This simply does not make sense when it comes to categorising or describing a building although it does make sense when categorising a particular requirement e.g. external solid wall insulation.

    Unfortunately, however, the wording of the exemption from the minimum standards relating to protected/listed buildings is phrased in terms of the need or otherwise for an EPC rather than the consequences of the works themselves.

    No need to link the exemption to EPC exemptions

    The confusing wording in the Directive itself around the exemptions for listed building is far from helpful and is the start of the problem. Coupling the minimum energy efficiency requirements under the 2011 Act with the EPC exemption is at the heart of the problem. There is no need for this link. The Energy Act is not implementing EU requirements. Whatever may be the issue around the EPC exemption which is potentially an EU issue, the regulations which implement the minimum standards could simply contain a standalone unqualified exemption for listed buildings which would solve the problem. Whether the UK Government would agree is another matter as they may make a policy decision that they want to see substandard listed buildings comply to the extent that the work does not adversely affect the character or appearance of the building.

    Clarity can only be achieved by amending the regulations but this can be done without involving the EU so far as minimum standards are concerned.

    The implications for Section 21

    A further concern for landlords renting out properties under an assured shorthold tenancy is that from the 1st October 2015 certain additional requirements were introduced which have to be complied with if you wanted to serve a valid Section 21 notice to evict a tenant. These include providing a copy of the EPC. This requirement does not affect tenancies which started before the 1st October 2015. The regulations would, however, only apply if an EPC was legally required for a listed building. Exactly the same uncertainty, however, applies. If an EPC is required for a listed building and one has not been provided, then a Section 21 notice served by the landlord would be ineffective. The landlord can put the situation right by providing an EPC to the tenant. However, the same issue of uncertainty around the scope of the exemption clearly applies in this situation.

    Conclusion

    Regrettably, we simply do not know the answer to whether or not an EPC is required for a listed building; nor whether landlords who have rented out listed buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (subject to any other available exemption, e.g. limiting the amount they have to spend); or whether you need an EPC for a listed building in order to be able to rely on regaining possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. What is clear is that if you have no EPC then you do not have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards from 2018 onwards. You could be liable for a penalty for not having an EPC and equally you might not be able to get possession back relying on Section 21. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by the Government.


  2. Early EPCs Begin to Expire in August 2017

    June 29, 2017

    EPCs on properties for sale – 10 Year Validity REMINDER

    EPCs started on 1st August 2007 and are valid for up to 10 years. So some will start to expire from 1 August 2017.  We would like to remind you that some “For Sale” properties which have EPCs may be close to running beyond their 10 year validity date during marketing and before exchange.

    Therefore some pre-marketing date checks of EPCs (for sale) will soon be required to avoid potential problems and fines.

    You may remember that EPC were phased in over a few months starting with 4 bedroom + properties.

    Properties taken on for sale after the following dates will require their existing EPCs replaced if the latest EPC on the Landmark Register is over 10 years old.

    4 Bedroom + Properties –  some EPCs become out of date from 31 July 2017         (EPC requirement started 1 Aug 2007)

    3 Bedroom Properties –     some EPCs become out of date from 9 September 2017    (EPC requirement started 10 Sept 2007)

    Remainder Properties –    some EPCs become out of date from 13 December 2007   (EPC requirement started 14 Dec 2007) .

    This will require a physical check not only of the existence of a current EPC but also the date it was produced.  See the Landmark Register :   www.epcregister.com

     


  3. BEIS says that Listed properties are not automatically exempt from requiring an EPC

    March 1, 2017

    The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released guidance on the application of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for non-domestic buildings. In this document, they cast doubt on the interpretation favoured by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the requirement for EPCs for listed buildings.

    The Alliance has long been arguing that an EPC is required for the majority of listed buildings under the existing Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations. We have seen the DCLG gradually backing away from the stance that “if it is listed it is exempt” but unlike BEIS they have not yet issued clear guidance stating otherwise.

    The confusion stems from the paragraph in the regulations stating that EPCs are not required for

    “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”

    Whilst clearly a listed building is officially protected for its architectural or historical merit it is the second part of the sentence that is all important. As BEIS rightly state in their guidance

    “Examples of energy performance measures which may alter character or appearance … include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump.”

    The guidance then goes on to point out that

    “Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required.”

    Well hooray! The penny has finally dropped. There are literally thousands of energy inefficient listed properties out there where things like loft insulation or upgrading heating and/or hot water systems can make a significant difference; without altering their character. The people living in those properties need them more energy efficient and the country can’t afford for those properties not to be upgraded if we are going to meet our targets.

    It would clearly be ridiculous to completely exclude a large proportion of our least efficient buildings from the requirement to make them more energy efficient if it is reasonably possible to do so. That is why the regulations only exclude them if it is not reasonably possible to do so; and we are pleased that BEIS has finally recognised this and issued appropriate guidance.

    What we now need is similar clarification from the DCLG. In the meantime, assessors should not risk telling clients that if their property is listed they don’t need an EPC for sale or rental. That advice could prove to be incorrect, making the assessor liable. The safe approach is to state that

    If your building is listed, then it may be exempt from needing an EPC (for sale or rental) however the legislation is not entirely clear on this point and it is for your solicitor and the solicitor for the other party to determine whether they believe one should be produced.

    An assessor could add that there is no risk in obtaining an EPC that was not actually needed whereas there is a risk in not obtaining one if it is deemed you should have. Again, BEIS are ahead of the game on this one and their guidance confirms that

    “In situations where an owner or occupier of a building which is not legally required to have an EPC has obtained one voluntarily … the landlord will not be required to meet the minimum standard.”

    At last we are seeing some common sense being applied to what has been one of the most contentious issues for EPCs.


    The guidance referred to in this article is

    THE NON-DOMESTIC PRIVATE RENTED PROPERTY MINIMUM STANDARD
    Guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let non-domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015
    February 2017


    Ian Sturt
    The Alliance of Energy Assessor Associations
    25 February 2017


  4. Bonfield Review “Each Home Counts” Now Published –

    February 2, 2017

    In July 2015, the Secretaries of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), now part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) jointly commissioned an ‘Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement’ for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the United Kingdom.

    An Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    This Review covers:

    Consumer advice and protection

    What supports consumers’ decisions ahead of the installation, and what assistance is available when things go wrong?

    Standards framework

    What ensures that the right products are fitted to the right properties in the right way during the installation?

    Monitoring and enforcement

    What ensures that poor quality work is dealt with effectively, and do arrangements for audit, compliance-checking and sanctions provide sufficient assurance of this?

    This Report sets out the results of the Review and proposals for development of a clear action plan for industry to lead on and deliver over the coming years

    The report can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/each-home-counts-review-of-consumer-advice-protection-standards-and-enforcement-for-energy-efficiency-and-renewable-energy


  5. Landlords required to fund improvements to achieve MEES for domestic properties?

    August 2, 2016

    Sunday’s national press have leaked a suggestion that landlords will be required to fund improvements to achieve Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for domestic properties.

    From April 2016, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 introduced minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) in the residential and commercial private rented sector.

    The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards dictate that a landlord with an EPC Rating below an E will be required to undertake work to improve the energy performance of their property; otherwise they could face heavy penalties. These new standards will be phased in over the next five years, moving from targeting new leases to targeting ALL residential and commercial leases.

    When Green Deal was mothballed last year it created a gap in the regulations as improvements were only mandatory if there was “no upfront costs” to the landlord. An article in Sunday’s Telegraph states that Government may well be on the verge of closing this loop hole by requiring landlords to fund the improvement at their own expense up to, the article suggests, a “hypothetical maximum of £5000”.


  6. Government must learn from ‘blinkered’ approach to energy efficiency

    August 2, 2016

    20 July 2016

    The Public Accounts Committee report says that failures highlighted by the design and implementation of household energy efficiency schemes put public money at risk and must not be repeated.

    Report conclusions and recommendation

    The Committee’s report concludes take up for the Government’s Green Deal loans scheme was “woefully low” because the scheme was not adequately tested.

    The forecast of demand for Green Deal loans was excessively optimistic, says the Committee, and “gave a completely misleading picture of the scheme’s prospects to Parliament and other stakeholders”.

    It raises concerns that while taxpayers provided £25 million—more than a third of the initial investment in the Green Deal Finance Company—to cover set-up and operational costs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change had no formal role in approving company expenditure or ensuring it achieved value for money.

    £240 million spent stimulating demand for loans

    The Committee also finds the Government lacks the information it needs to measure progress against the objectives of the complementary Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, including its impact on fuel poverty.

    The Department implemented the Green Deal and ECO schemes in 2013 to improve household energy efficiency.

    It spent £240 million setting up and stimulating demand for loans under the Green Deal, which enabled households to take out loans to pay for efficiency measures which they would repay through their energy bill.

    ECO resembled previous energy efficiency schemes, with the Department requiring the largest energy suppliers to install measures that save a set level of carbon dioxide (CO2) or reduce bills by March 2017.

    Ensure policy decisions are “thoroughly tested and based on accurate evidence”

    While the primary aim was to save CO2, the Department also wanted the schemes to work together to improve ‘harder-to-treat’ properties; stimulate private investment in energy efficiency measures and mitigate the causes of fuel poverty.

    Among its recommendations to Government the Committee calls on the Department to ensure policy decisions are “thoroughly tested and based on accurate evidence”, including a robust evaluation of stakeholders’ views.

    The Department “should be prepared to pull back on plans if it is clear they are unlikely to be successful and risk taxpayers’ money”, says the Committee, and ensure forecasts laid before Parliament “are clear about the degree of certainty that applies to the numbers used and the likely outcome”.

    The Report adds: “The Department must not leave itself open to accusations of misleading Parliament to achieve its own ends.”

    Chair’s comments

    Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said:

    “The Government rushed into the Green Deal without proper consideration of concerns about its weaknesses.

    Not enough work went into establishing the scheme’s appeal to households, nor to its implementation, nor to examining the experience of governments setting up similar schemes overseas.

    This blinkered approach resulted in a truly dismal take-up for Green Deal loans and a cost to taxpayers of £17,000 for every loan arranged. Savings in CO2 were minimal.

    Accountability to government of the Green Deal Loan Company—which spent public money on the expectation that it would need to support 3.5 million loans, compared to the 14,000 taken up—was institutionally weak.

    The Government is also unable to measure adequately the success of the Energy Company Obligation.

    There is no doubt householders and taxpayers in general have been ill-served by these schemes and the Government must learn from its mistakes to ensure they are not repeated in this or indeed any other policy areas.”

    Caroline Flint MP, a member of the Committee who led questioning during its inquiry, said:

    “It is clearly desirable to make homes more energy-efficient but the Green Deal in particular was not fit for purpose.

    It is deeply alarming that the expectations for take-up put forward by the Government should be so wide of the mark, especially given the serious concerns raised about the scheme’s design and implementation.

    This, together with its inability to properly evaluate the Energy Company Obligation, paints the picture of a Government hell-bent on implementing a policy regardless of whether it represented value for taxpayers’ money.”

    Report summary

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change (the Department) implemented the Green Deal in 2013 without adequately testing the design of the scheme with consumers.

    In practice, householders were not persuaded that energy efficiency measures were worth paying for through the Green Deal and take-up of loans was abysmal.

    The Department’s forecast that the Green Deal Finance Company would provide loans worth more than £1.1 billion by the end of 2015 was wildly optimistic—the actual figure was £50 million.

    £25 million written off by the Department

    The finance company has incurred large financial losses as a result of the low demand for green deal loans resulting in the Department writing off some £25 million of the amount it loaned to the company.

    While the complementary Energy Company Obligation scheme has led to energy efficiency improvements in over 1.4 million homes, the Department does not have the information it needs to measure progress against its objectives.

    In particular, it cannot tell what impact the schemes have had on reducing fuel poverty.


  7. Ministerial briefs announced at the new Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy

    August 1, 2016

    Several weeks on from the formation of Theresa May’s government, ministerial briefs at the new Department of Business, Energy and Industry (BEIS) have been officially confirmed.

    As had been widely expected Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, has been confirmed as Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, taking responsibility for climate change, including carbon budgets, climate science, international climate change efforts, and the green economy, including the Green Investment Bank. His industrial responsibilities also extend to advanced manufacturing, materials, and the automotive sector.

    The move is likely to be broadly welcomed by green groups, who have praised Hurd’s record as an advocate for ambitious action to tackle climate change. He is a supporter of the Conservative Environment Network thinktank and before entering government he served on the Environment Audit Select Committee and led work on climate change policy for the Conservative Party Quality of Life Policy Group, chaired by Lord Deben.

    He was also a member of the Globe International Parliamentary network for Climate Change and sponsored the Sustainable Communities Act as a Private Members Bill. He joined BEIS from the Department for International Development where he worked on a range of climate change issues, including improving access to clean energy in Africa.

    Writing on Twitter this morning, Hurd said the new role would seek to better integrate industrial and climate policy. “Time for climate change and industrial policy to be brought together more closely,” he said. “Look forward to working on it.”

    He added that the climate change brief was a “welcome opportunity to reconnect with the issue I chose to focus on when I entered Parliament”.

    Meanwhile, Conservative peer Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe has been confirmed as Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, taking responsibility for nuclear, oil and gas, shale gas, low carbon generation, security of supply, electricity and gas wholesale markets and networks, energy efficiency and heat, fuel poverty, smart meters and smart systems, international energy, and energy security.

    A former senior executive at Tesco, Neville-Rolfe will also represent the department in the House of Lords, and take responsibility for intellectual property and EU single market issues.

    Neville-Rolfe’s appointment last month was similarly welcomed by green groups, who highlighted her record at Tesco leading much of the supermarket’s work to improve its environmental performance and response to climate change.

    Both Hurd and Neville-Rolfe will be supported by the department’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Industry and Energy, Jesse Norman, whose responsibilities include industrial and energy policy.

    Completing the ministerial roster at the department, Margot James has been confirmed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. She will support Nick Hurd as Minister for Climate Change and Industry and her responsibilities include the retail sector, regulatory reform, corporate governance, labour markets, and consumer and competition issues, as well as the small business sector.

    The ministerial team will be led by Secretary of State Greg Clark and now faces a daunting in-tray as it continues work to deliver a new emission reduction plan for the UK, support Number 10’s review of the controversial Hinkley Point project, deliver the promised national smart meter roll out, and flesh out Theresa May’s vision for a new industrial strategy.

    Clark welcomed the confirmation of the new team. “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change,” he said in a statement. “I’m supported by a great ministerial team and we will work tirelessly to deliver on all of these areas, which are vital for the future success of our country.”

     

    Source: BusinessGreen


  8. Parliament formally approves fifth carbon budget

    July 25, 2016

    Carbon-cutting target was approved by both houses as new BEIS minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe insists climate strategy will be at the heart of new department’s remit

     Parliament has officially passed the government’s fifth carbon budget into law, committing the UK to slashing emissions by 57 per cent against 1990 levels by 2032
    Source: Business Green

  9. ‘Green Tories’ complete ministerial line-up at revamped Business and Energy Department

    July 18, 2016

    Nick Hurd, Margot James and Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe will join new BEIS ministry headed by Greg Clark .

    Hopes the newly formed Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will prioritise action to tackle climate change and expand the green economy were given a boost over the weekend, as a number of leading ‘green Tories’ were appointed to key positions within Theresa May’s government.

    Conservative MPs Nick Hurd and Margot James and House of Lords peer Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe were confirmed as junior ministers at the newly created department over the weekend, where they will join new Business Secretary Greg Clark.

    Like Clark, who served as shadow energy and climate change secretary prior to 2010 and has been a long-standing advocate of climate action, the new ministers bring a variety environmental, climate change and green business experience to the new department.

    Nick Hurd, the MP for Ruislip Northwood and Pinner, is a supporter of the Conservative Environment Network think tank, and was chairman of the climate change sub-group of the Quality of Life policy review commission between 2006 and 2008. He has also served on the Environmental Audit committee and more recently served as parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development between November 2015 and July 2016, and as civil society minister for four years during the coalition government.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe, meanwhile, was promoted on Sunday from her previous role as parliamentary under-secretary for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), to minister of the revamped business and energy department. Neville-Rolfe was appointed as a life peer of the House of Lords in 2013 after around 16 years working for Tesco, where she served on the board as executive director of corporate and legal affairs for seven years. She also formerly worked as a civil servant at the ministry for agriculture, fisheries and food for 19 years.

    Margot James has in turn taken up the under-secretary of state role at the newly formed department. James was first elected as an MP for Stourbridge in 2010, and has previously sat on the BIS select committee and the Committee on Arms Export Controls.

    She also created and chaired an all-party parliamentary group for trade and investment in a bid to boost dialogue on trade issues between businesses, trade organisations and politicians, and since 2015 served as assistant government whip, with responsibility for education and equalities. In addition, she previously worked to promote the Green Deal energy efficiency scheme and campaigned to reform the climate change levy.

    Source: Business Green

     


  10. DECC scrapped – Greg Clark made business, energy and industrial strategy secretary

    July 14, 2016

    Greg Clark has been appointed secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy – a newly created role which gives a strong indication that the incoming prime minister Theresa May has merged some of the responsibilities of DECC with the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) department.

    And, in a statement on his new appointment this afternoon, Clark suggested he would be taking on the climate change brief as well as looking after energy and business.

    “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change,” he said.

    First elected to Parliament in 2005 as the MP for Tunbridge Wells, Clark has held a number of front bench positions, both in government and the shadow cabinet.

    He served as shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change from 2008 to 2010, and also worked in the coalition government as financial secretary to the Treasury, minister of state for cities and constitution and minister of state for universities, science and cities.

    As communities secretary at DCLG for the past year, Clark had the final say over planning decisions, including gas developer Cuadrilla’s fracking application for a site in Lancashire, over which Clark had been expected to make a final decision.

    Meanwhile, Amber Rudd, who previously held the post of secretary of state for energy and climate change, was promoted earlier today to head up the Home Office.

    Responding to Clark’s appointment, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), called Greg Clark an “excellent appointment”.

    “He understands climate change, and has written influential papers on the benefits of Britain developing a low-carbon economy,” said Black in a statement. “Importantly, he sees that economic growth and tackling climate change are bedfellows, not opponents – and he now has the opportunity to align British industry, energy and climate policy in a way that has never been done before.”

    Green advocates gave mixed responses to the news that energy policy will be moved to the business department, with some expressing concern it could bode ill for the importance put on climate change.

    Source: Business Green