At this year’s Party conferences, the Conservative and Labour Parties appear to have fallen into a wall cavity without insulation on the subject of energy. For the second consecutive year no one at the Labour Conference uttered the words HIP or EPC. At the Conservative Conference, Grant Shapps restated his Party’s intention to scrap HIPs and their Policy Green Paper No10 – Strong Foundations (p34) states that EPCs should not get in the way of being able to market a property and therefore propose moving it to the end of the sale process.
The Department for Communities and Local Government devalued the Domestic EPC by making it part of the HIP and are failing to implement the law on Commercial EPCs. The Labour Party has distanced itself from its own legislation and the Conservative Party is trying to turn this to its own advantage: But whoever wins the next election, EPCs will remain – they are part of European Law!
An EPC shows how energy efficient one property is in relation to another. The accompanying Recommendation Report gives practical advice on what low cost measures can be implemented in order to save energy and fuel costs for the property. Why the Conservatives want to delay this to the end of the house buying process is perverse: Anyone buying or renting a property will want to know the running costs and what they can do to reduce them before making a commitment.
It is well recognised that over 85% of all UK buildings need major improvement if the agreed carbon reduction and energy savings targets are to be met. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is currently developing plans for a badly needed major programme of works by engaging interested parties. The upgrading of the UK’s building stock will be one of the biggest national projects ever seen and will need planning, implementing, delivering and paying for: Such work needs long term commitment, time, skills and funding.
Andrew Morphet, Managing Director of Synergy Property Services is a worried man:
“Political capital is being made from energy legislation to the detriment of the Country. Valuable time will be lost as the election looms and for months afterwards; but action is needed now and quickly:
• To make the existing legislation work by imposing financial incentives and penalties.
• To support energy improvements.
• To up-skill tradesmen, Energy Assessors and Project Managers crucial to a project of this size.
• To give suppliers the confidence and time required to gear up production.
The job is huge – we’re talking about 8,000 homes per week plus a similar amount of work on non-domestic properties.”
In the 21st century, Andrew believes that it really shouldn’t be too much to ask that politicians from all sides sit down together and agree a long term strategic plan for the future of our Country and our Planet where climate change policy and eradicating fuel poverty are vital.
“Ways to get the best methodology for property transactions, to improve the existing building stock and to improve building standards must be found and agreed if we are to reach the carbon reduction targets our Politicians have rightly committed our Country to. Our Politicians need to work for us!”