A group of business leaders and trade body figures have called on the Government to embrace the ‘economic benefits of reducing carbon emissions’ in a letter published by The Telegraph on Tuesday (May 26).
The letter – which has signatures from Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council; Joanne Wade, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE); John Sinfield, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe; and more – claims the energy efficiency sector presents a major opportunity for economic growth.
It goes on to claim that making buildings energy-efficient stimulates economic activity and creates thousands of jobs, particularly among small businesses. It also claims that as well as lowering costs for homeowners and businesses, better performing buildings can also reduce the burden on the NHS.
While the signatories congratulate George Osborne for his success during the General Election, and welcome the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledges, they have also called for more to be done to support their sector.
Claiming the Government will need long-term policies for the sector, the letter calls for energy efficiency to be recognised as a national infrastructure priority and allocate infrastructure funds for a national retrofit programme – both Liberal Democrat pledges made in the run up to the Election.
The Government is also asked to fulfil its commitment to make all new homes zero carbon from 2016 and all new non-domestic buildings so from 2019. This target has fallen into question recently after Government consulted on plans to allow small sites to be exempt from carbon emission targets.
Plans to create minimum energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector from 2018 were also mentioned, with the letter requesting that the requirement to meet a Band E rating should be effectively enforced.
Finally, the letter requests that the Government outlines how it intends to meet upcoming ‘carbon budgets’.
Other signatories of the letter include Peter Bonfield, chief executive at BRE; Ed Matthew director of Energy Bill Revolution; Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs at the National Housing Federation; Ivo Schaedler, general manager at Sika; and Peter Hindle, senior vice-president, sustainable habitat at Saint-Gobain, and general delegate for Saint-Gobain (UK, Ireland and South Africa).