Legislative certainty needed for UK industries

The UK’s heavy industries are “bearing a disproportionate burden of emissions reduction targets”. That was the message yesterday from Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation. Dr Cohen […]

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By Tom Gibson

The UK’s heavy industries are “bearing a disproportionate burden of emissions reduction targets”.

That was the message yesterday from Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation.

Dr Cohen was speaking on behalf of British industry at a London seminar, Making Sense of the Energy Debate.

Discussing the implications of current carbon-reducing legislation on UK businesses, she said: “I don’t think that any of us would argue that it is important that there is some sort of regulation in the UK. Certainly heavy industry is bearing a disproportionate burden of the emissions reduction targets. What does this mean for cost?”

“It’s really important to us that we have energy security. It’s something that companies who can invest in the UK and overseas look at. The heavy clay ceramic sector (bricks, roof tiles, clay drainage pipes) has not yet been given carbon leakage status in the EU ETS, so by 2020 the average UK factory will be buying 90% of the carbon they need. Do they have a future?”

Dr Cohen called for certainty in UK legislation, something that she said had not been forthcoming from the coalition: “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the UK yet and that could affect our sector very badly.

“The cumulative effect of this means energy intensive industries can’t compete in the UK. UK factories are competing for investment with other factories overseas. Because of the potential cumulative costs, companies cannot justify investment.”

She added: “It is important that as an economy we get a cost effective decarbonisation of the UK”