Government fails to deliver on energy efficiency

The UK Government is "failing to deliver" on aims to improve energy efficiency in the UK according to a coalition of green groups and business organisations.

The group, including Greenpeace, the RSPB, the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) and the Institute of Public Policy Research, assessed the government against 11 measures which could drive improvements in energy efficiency.

The Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which marked the government on criteria ranging from pushing for lower emission requirements on cars to implementing the zero-carbon pledge on new homes, suggested it was making little progress.

While the government scored positively on developing a stronger expanded EU Emissions Trading Scheme, it fell down on other areas.

Key areas where it was judged to have failed were in introducing incentives such as council tax rebates to encourage energy savings in homes, measures on efficiency in large public sector buildings and encouraging businesses to adopt energy efficient technology.

Merlin Hyman, director of EIC, said: "If we are going to make a successful transition to a low carbon economy and secure the UK's competitiveness in global markets, a steep change in reducing energy demand is needed now."

He said the Stern Review into the economics of climate change identified energy efficiency as having the potential to be the single source of emissions savings by 2050.

"The 'Energy Efficiency Scorecard' reveals that the government is failing to deliver on energy efficiency. We urgently need an ambitious range of policies for securing energy savings right across the economy."

An Environment Department spokeswoman said the government was serious about cutting demand for energy right across the economy.

"That's why we are requiring energy companies to spend around £1bn a year over the next three years to make their customers' homes more energy-efficient - which will save people £5 off their energy bills for every pound spent. We've created the 'Act on CO2' helpline to give every household a one-stop shop for advice and help on making their homes more energy-efficient.

"And for business, we are extending carbon trading to cover organisations including government departments, supermarkets, hotel chains and big businesses - creating an extra financial incentive to cut energy use," she said.

"However, we need to go further. In particular, we can and must do more to make existing homes more energy-efficient, which is why we recently announced that a Low Carbon Homes Strategy, focusing on existing homes, will be central to a comprehensive review of energy efficiency.

"Later this year we will consult on a range of new and enhanced energy efficiency policies that will help to promote cost-effective savings right across the economy."

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