Prime minister urged by industry to stop “prevaricating” over energy standards for rented buildings
A group of 29 industry leaders has urged the prime minister to “unleash a tidal wave of investment” by bringing in mandatory energy standards for privately rented buildings.
The 2011 Energy Act outlines plans to obligate landlords to upgrade properties from April 2018, but the details of the policy have not yet been set out.
The government has previously said that properties with an energy performance rating of F or G will need to be upgraded but this has not become policy or been subject to consultation.
Also, the issue of whether all properties will need to meet the standard from April 2018 or whether it will just be enforced when new leases are signed remains unclear.
A letter to David Cameron, coordinated by the UK Green Building Council and signed by bosses from Land Securities, Hammerson, Willmott Dixon and John Lewis among other, said the “prevaricating” over the policy was “preventing timely preparations from being made, raising the potential costs of compliance to industry”.
It said: “If these regulations can be designed to be clear, simple and long-term, they could unleash a tidal wave of investment in our most inefficient property stock. In turn, this will drive innovation that would help the UK gain a significant share of a global energy efficiency market that is already worth over £17.6bn to the economy.”
But it said that industry leaders were concerned that there was “significant opposition to their [the regulations] implementation within government”.
It added: “We therefore call on you to end the uncertainty around these regulations, and ensure that a robust and ambitious consultation document is published as soon as possible.”
Industry letter on energy standards in full
Dear Prime Minister
Commercial buildings are responsible for around one fifth of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions, and a similar proportion of the UK’s total energy consumption. At the same time, the sector offers some of the most cost-effective carbon abatement and energy efficiency potential. If this potential can be delivered, it will also bring enormous benefits for the UK in terms of business competitiveness, economic growth, and energy security.
With this in mind, the 2011 Energy Act placed an obligation on the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to introduce a minimum energy performance standard for privately rented commercial (and domestic) buildings. Since that time, industry representatives have been working alongside Government officials to help draw up proposals as to how this might best be put into practice. Over that same period, organisations from across the commercial building sector have begun to take practical steps to gear up for the regulations, including undertaking due diligence studies covering their property portfolios, and investing in upgrades to poor performing buildings. In short, the prospect of this legislation is already starting to have a visible and positive effect on the market.
However, at the current time we are still waiting for the consultation on these regulations to be published, amid rumours that there is significant opposition to their implementation within Government.
We are writing to urge you to ensure that Government sees through its commitments on minimum energy performance standards for commercial rented properties. The regulations have the potential to play a transformative role across the sector, impacting as they will at a critical “transaction (leasing) phase” in the building lifecycle. This has repeatedly been highlighted as the point at which strong and cost-effective action can be taken, yet one which has so far been largely neglected by policy-makers.
If these regulations can be designed to be clear, simple and long-term, they could unleash a tidal wave of investment in our most inefficient property stock. In turn, this will drive innovation that would help the UK gain a significant share of a global energy efficiency market that is already worth over £17.6bn to the economy. In contrast, the current prevarication around the policy is preventing timely preparations from being made, raising the potential costs of compliance to industry.
We therefore call on you to end the uncertainty around these regulations, and ensure that a robust and ambitious consultation document is published as soon as possible.
Paul King, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council
Keith Bugden, Executive Programme Director, Better Buildings Partnership
Michael Green, Chief Executive, British Council of Shopping Centres
Matthew Howell, Regional Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Andrew Warren, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy
Andrew Bolitho, Energy, Property and Transport Advisor, The British Retail Consortium
Rob Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities
Pascal Mittermaier, Director of Sustainability EMEA and Project Director, Lend Lease
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
David Atkins, Chief Executive Officer, Hammerson Plc
Sophie Carruth, Head of Sustainability, LaSalle Investment Management
Bill Hughes, Managing Director, Legal and General Property
Michael Sales, Managing Director, TIAA Henderson Real Estate
Chris Taylor, CEO, Hermes Real Estate
Dan Grandage, Head of Responsible Property Investment, Aberdeen Asset Management
Tony Jacob, Head of Construction, Environment and Engineering, John Lewis Partnership
Munish Datta, Head of Plan A & Facilities Management, Marks & Spencer
Nick Lakin, Group Head of Government Affairs, Kingfisher Plc
Paul Joyner, Managing Director, SBS (Part of the Travis Perkins Group)
Rebecca Pearce, Senior Director, EMEA Head of Sustainability, CBRE Ltd
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, GVA
Patrick Bellew, Founding Director, Atelier Ten
Rob Lambe, Managing Director, Willmott Dixon Energy Services Limited
Donald Daw, Divisional Director, Mitsubishi Electric UK
John Sinfield, Managing Director, Knauf Insulation Northern Europe
Pat Ward, Chief Executive, Aggregate Industries
Rab Bennetts, Director, Bennetts Associates
Professor Paul Ekins, Director, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London
Alex Flach, Construction & Maintenance Director, Whitbread Plc