More than a third of local authorities in England and Wales have been found in breach of EU energy regulations for buildings, according to the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA).
It was revealed using a Freedom of Information (FoI) request when PEPA asked all authorities whether they complied with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) earlier this year. Although 50% of councils said they complied with the regulations – which are designed to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings – PEPA claims 30% of councils admitted they did not.
Launched in 2007, the EPBD requires that a Display Energy Certificate (DEC), which details a building’s energy consumption, should be on display in all public buildings more than 500 square metres. The Government is believed to currently spend around £1.9 million every year in helping local authorities to comply.
Stephen O’Hara, Chairman of PEPA said: “What has become clear is that there is a total lack of understanding amongst non-compliant authorities of the potential for DECs to save both energy and money. What’s more, by flouting the regulations they are actually costing their taxpayers money.
“It is unbelievable that the Department for Communities and Local Government sits on its hands in these times of austerity and watches local authorities fritter away money on high energy costs. It seems that the Secretary of State Eric Pickles does not understand why improving energy efficiency is so vital, not just to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions but for the economy.”
PEPA said it now plans to undertake a detailed analysis of the results and produce a report that highlights best practice among local authorities and reveal those that are “wasting a golden opportunity” to save taxpayers’ money.
A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government told ELN: “We have issued clear guidance on Display Energy Certificates. It is in councils’ interests to deliver sensible energy efficiency improvements, to reduce their energy bills and save taxpayers’ money in the process.”