January 25, 2023

The UK is lagging far behind EU countries in performance and policies on home insulation and energy efficiency, and will lose even more ground if the European Union’s “locked-in laws” are scrapped, according to a new study.

The report, produced by UK pressure group Another Europe is Possible and Germany’s respected Friedrich Ebert Foundation, says the UK is failing to comply with new EU laws that aim to double the annual rate of renovation of buildings and cut primary energy consumption by 2030 by 2030. 39% reduction.

It says that with UK household electricity prices around 30% higher than neighboring EU countries, the UK has a “lack of ambition” to match such targets despite price pressures.

An additional threat is the UK government’s plan to strike thousands of EU laws from the codebook by the end of next year, widening the gap.

The report’s author, David Baldock, senior fellow at the Institute for European Environmental Policy, said: “Our skyrocketing energy prices mean we have a clear interest in getting the most out of what we use – but energy efficiency and energy UK government’s efficiency home insulation agenda remains ambitious This will become a major point of divergence between the UK and the EU in coming years as the EU commits its member states to bold efficiency and insulation targets.

“Divergence is a two-way street. It may mean getting rid of existing EU rules that we inherited from membership. But it can also mean that you are not keeping up with the changes that the EU is now making.

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

“Overall it is a mixed picture – with elements of divergence accompanied by the costly duplication of existing EU schemes without much substantive change. But if the retained EU statute law is not substantially amended, thousands of EU-derived acts could be pulled from the UK codebook by the end of next year, with the risk of chaos and potentially radical deregulation.”

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Improving the energy efficiency of homes is important to tackle fuel poverty and reduce emissions, which is why we have pledged £6.6bn to this parliament and a further £6bn by 2028 to make buildings more energy efficient.

“The Energy Company Obligation scheme alone has led to improvements to around 2.4 million homes, and last month we launched our £1bn Eco+ scheme to accelerate these efforts, installing measures in households that previously had no access to to Eco support.”

On Saturday, the department unveiled a new energy efficiency campaign to help people reduce consumption and bills.

Dubbed “It All Adds Up”, the campaign lists key government recommendations to help households save money, including lowering the temperature at which a boiler heats water before sending it to radiators from 75C to 60C. This shouldn’t lower a home’s temperature, but could save around £100 annually. Switching off appliances at the plug can save about 70 euros per year.

Reducing heat loss from the property, for example by fitting weatherstripping around doors or applying 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 of heating our homes. Energy efficiency figures are now 20 times lower than under the last Labor government, but Rishi Sunak is not taking any action.

“Labour’s Warm Homes Plan would 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 the fairer, green future Britain needs, thanks to our green wealth plan to invest in green industries, and GB Energy, our government-owned energy company that has made Britain a clean energy superpower. makes energy.”

Luke Cooper, senior research fellow at think tank LSE Ideas, who is also a co-founder of campaign group Another Europe Is Possible, blamed Brexit for taking the UK in a different direction, which by definition makes necessary international cooperation more difficult.

“Brexit is increasingly exposed as a failed project – and our environment is paying the price. This report outlines how we can minimize some of the damage Brexit will cause. Protecting the environment requires close cooperation with states in Europe and around the world.”

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