Government Publishes draft ‘Post BREXIT Environmental Bill’ – What does this mean for our industry?

Despite trying to avoid as much Brexit news as possible in recent weeks, there is one area of discussions we at Elmhurst Energy have kept a close eye on since June 2016 – what will happen to our environmental legislation in the event of either an agreed deal or a no deal Brexit?

We are therefore pleased and encouraged to see, in the government draft of the post – Brexit environmental bill, that there is a strong commitment to not only carry existing policies over, but also to build on this and aim to become world leaders in environmental regulations and enforcement.

For our industry, this means assessment and improvement of the built environment, both domestic and commercial, will remain an integral part of ensuring our sustainability and carbon reduction targets are met. Since their initiation just over 10 years ago, EPCs have been transformed from a ‘tick box exercise’ when constructing, selling or renting a property, to a valued document, used by homeowners, building owners and landlords to help them understand the energy performance of their building, identifying ways to improve efficiency and save money.

However, one of the main concerns for Energy Assessors, and Accreditation Companies, such as ourselves, has always been lack of enforcement. When ESOS started in 2014, there were concerns over how well policed the scheme was likely to be, and the same with the emergence of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) earlier this year. If it was established that compliance was not monitored and enforced, then there is less incentive to comply.

Yet, we have been encouraged by the enforcement we have witnessed. Recently, the Environment Agency released a list of all those companies who were non-compliant with ESOS Phase 1 and the fines imposed upon them. This came weeks before the qualification date for Phase 2, so we anticipate the next year will be a very busy time for our accredited ESOS Lead Assessors.

The draft environmental bill promised a new green watchdog, which will be called the ‘Office for Environmental Protection’ (OEP), and will work closely alongside the Environment Agency and Natural England to safeguard our environmental standards after we leave the EU.

DEFRA secretary Michael Gove, who has consistently reinforced Brexit will not cause a drop in environmental standards, has said the OEP will become a world leading body scrutinising environmental policy and law, investigating complaints, and will take action to ensure policies are implemented.

Elmhurst consider this draft to show commitment to consistently improve environmental standards, and, at a time of large uncertainty elsewhere in industry, see this as a very positive and exciting time to be working in our sector. Energy Assessors, ESOS Lead assessors, and all those who are members of our numerous competency schemes are considered industry experts in the environmental performance of the built environment, so your roles will remain crucial post Brexit.

It seems as though, with increased attention on environmental policies, there is no time like the present to look at expanding your knowledge base and the services you offer as an Assessor. Take a look at our new 2019 training calendar to view the opportunities to gain CPD or new qualifications over the next year.

To view the training calendar click here

Article Published: 20th December 2018

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