Energy trade body criticises government

The Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) has criticised the Government for failing to keep track of money meant to be allocated to improving the energy efficiency of UK buildings.

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the government is unable to track how £11m of tax payer’s money has been allocated over the last five years.

Local Authorities have been allocated the money in order to help reduce the UK’s carbon emissions while reducing fuel bills for building occupants.

Since the 1st August 2007, Local Authorities have been obligated to ensure both individuals and relevant organisations within their boundaries, comply with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

PEPA plans to issue a request under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to the Chief Executive of every Local Authority in the UK.

It will be requesting information on exactly how the funding each Local Authority has received has been used to assist them in ensuring compliance with the EPBD regulations.

PEPA will also be asking every Local Authority for evidence of every EPC and DEC produced over a period since July 2007.

Stephen O’Hara, Chairman of the Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), said: “It is a disgrace that the Government has failed to take such an important European Directive seriously.

“The additional funding allocated to Local Authorities was specifically assigned to assist them in ensuring that the relevant buildings within their boundaries comply with the EPBD regulations and have a valid and up-to date DEC or EPC as required by law.

“By failing to track how this money is being spent by individual Authorities, central Government has no way of identifying whether these funds are being used in the right way or which Local Authorities are failing in their duties.”

Mr O’Hara added that he had no doubt some Local Authorities have taken this responsibility very seriously but that others have failed to even pay lip service to the directive.

Commenting on PEPA’s findings, Andrew Warren, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy said: “This important survey is an appalling indictment of public sector incompetence and waste.

“Ministers at the Communities & Local Government department should instruct their civil servants to start doing their jobs, and sort this out immediately.

“Otherwise we could end up paying enormous fines to Brussels for our failure to implement the laws that we signed up to.”

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