UK ‘behind EU’ on warmer homes policy | Energy efficiency | Daily News Byte

UK ‘behind EU’ on warmer homes policy |  Energy efficiency

 | Daily News Byte

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The UK is falling far behind EU countries in its performance and policies on home insulation and energy efficiency and will lose more ground if “retention laws” are scrapped from the European Union, according to a new study.

A report by UK pressure group Another Europe is Possible and Germany’s respected Friedrich Ebert Foundation says the UK is failing to match new EU laws which aim to double the annual rate of building renovations by 2030 and cut primary energy use by 39%.

It says that while UK household electricity prices are around 30% higher than in neighboring EU countries, the UK “lacks the ambition” to match such targets despite price pressures.

An additional threat is posed by the UK government’s plan to remove thousands of EU laws from the statute book by the end of next year, widening the gulf.

The report’s author, David Baldock, senior fellow at the Institute for European Environmental Policy, said: “Our high energy prices mean we have a clear interest in getting the most out of what we use – but the UK Government’s energy efficiency and home insulation agenda The lack of ambition continues. This is set to be a key area of ​​UK-EU divergence in the coming years – as the EU commits its member states to bold targets on efficiency and insulation.

“Divergence is a two-way street. That could mean getting rid of the EU rules we inherited from membership. But it could also mean not continuing with the changes the EU is making now.

“We see both of these happening in UK-EU environmental regulation. Devolution adds another layer of complexity because, in different ways, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all likely to remain close to the EU status quo.

“Overall, it is a mixed picture – with elements of divergence alongside costly duplication of existing EU arrangements without significant change. But if the retained EU law bill is not significantly amended, it could mean thousands of EU-derived laws being struck off the UK statute book by the end of next year, risking chaos and potentially radical deregulation.”

A Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “Improving the energy efficiency of homes is vital to tackling fuel poverty and reducing emissions and that is why we have pledged £6.6bn this Parliament and a further £6bn for 2028. Buildings more energy-efficient.

“The Energy Company Obligation scheme alone has delivered improvements to around 2.4 million homes, and just last month we launched our £1bn Eco+ scheme to boost these efforts, by installing measures in homes that could not previously access Eco support.”

The department on Saturday unveiled a new energy efficiency campaign to help people reduce consumption and bills.

The campaign, called “It All Adds Up”, lists the government’s top recommendations to help households save money, including reducing the temperature at which boilers heat water before it is sent to radiators from 75C to 60C. This should not reduce the temperature of the house, but can save around £100 a year. Switching appliances off at the plug can save around £70 a year.

Reducing heat loss from a property through measures such as putting draft excluders around doors or adding clear film to windows can save around £60 a year.

Ed Miliband, shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero, said: “One of the reasons energy bills are so high is the Conservatives’ disastrous record on heating our homes. Energy efficiency rates are now 20 times lower than under the last Labor government, but Rishi Sunak has failed to take action.

“Labour’s Warm Homes plan will upgrade the 19 million homes that need it, cut bills and create thousands of good jobs for electricians and engineers across the country.

“Only Labor can deliver what Britain needs for a fairer, greener future, thanks to our Green Prosperity Plan to invest in green industries, and our publicly-owned energy company GB Energy to make Britain a clean energy superpower.”

Luke Cooper, senior research fellow at thinktank LSE Ideas, who is also co-founder of the campaign group Another Europe Is Possible, blamed Brexit for taking the UK down a different path, making the international cooperation required by definition more difficult.

“Brexit is increasingly exposed as a failed project – and our environment is paying the price. This report shows how we can mitigate some of the damage from Brexit. Protecting the environment requires closer cooperation with states in Europe and around the world.

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