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MEP proposes wider scope Energy Efficiency Building Directive

A report recommending the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive be extended to include all new premises requiring heating or cooling, irrespective of size, will be presented to the European Parliament at 12 noon today.

The 36-page document written by the European Rapporteur on energy efficiency, Fiona Hall, is highly critical of the government’s lack of action on implementing the measures put forward in the European Parliament’s action plan for energy efficiency.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, she said: "The implementation of this legislation has been a disgrace, there’s no other word for it. The building directive has only been properly transposed by five member states out of 27, and that does not include the UK."

She continued: "Michael Meacher [minister of state for the environment when the directive was proposed] promised that the Energy Performance for Buildings Directive would be implemented in full from day one, and here we are two years after the deadline and the UK is still in breach of it on several counts."

The move to broaden the scope of the Buildings Directive is intended as a catch all to ensure energy efficiency requirements are imposed throughout the housing sector.

Currently, although new public sector developments must meet level 3 of the code for sustainable housing, new private sector housing only has to comply with the basic building code regulations.

The Liberal Democrat MEP also cites a lack of the necessary skills within the industry to install the measures needed to cut carbon emissions.

However, she remains optimistic, explaining: "I think that there is impetus to do something about it in the UK at the moment, probably not enough yet, but I think that the message is beginning to get through that learning and skills [council] need to think about vocational qualifications in renewable energy technologies."

The European Commission on Climate Change is also censured in the report for its "lackadaisical" approach to chasing up member states that have breached the agreement. To date, only Germany and Lithuania have fully implemented the measures in the directive.

The European Parliament is expected to approve the recommendations in the report during a mid-day plenary session today.

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