Associations lobby against directive that would force buildings to create their own energy by 2019

UK construction experts have reacted angrily to proposals from the European parliament that will oblige all buildings to meet their entire energy needs on site by 2019.

If implemented, the directive would scupper plans being mooted by the communities department to allow developers to meet energy targets through off-site generation once they had exhausted other options.

The European parliament voted in April to reform the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to include the new clause.

John Tebbit, industry affairs director of the Construction Products Association, called the idea “gibberish”: “It goes against the idea that you can generate more energy from a big windmill in the North Sea than you can from lots of little ones in Brussels or Notting Hill. These people can add up their expenses, but they can’t work out energy flows.”

These people can add up their expenses, but they can’t work out energy flows

John Tebbit, CPA

Chris Stubbs, director of engineer WSP, said the policy had serious implications for scheme viability: “It doesn’t account for the fact that more effective use of capital might be to construct a large-scale clean power generation plant.”

Roger Humber, strategic policy adviser to the House Builders Association, said the policy was “nonsense” and said he was lobbying the government over the issue.

He said: “The government has just begun to realise that the scale of renewable energy needed is greater than can be generated on site … For the EU to put a spoke in the wheel is hugely damaging.”

The Council of Ministers, which represents EU member states’ governments, will make a final decision on the plans over the summer.