Andrew Warren: UK electricity consumption is 18 per cent lower than 15 years ago. Some two-thirds of that drop can be ascribed to implementation of European Union energy-using product policy. Effectively, this policy is implemented via two distinct, but related, streams of activity. The first sets minimum standards of efficiency for energy-using products, outlawing the worst fuel-wasters from sale. The second ascribes labels to each those products, ranging from A to G, revealing likely running costs. Such requirements are currently in place for 28 energy-using product groups. Including domestic products like washing machines and TVs, and business products like power transformers and commercial refrigeration. For the first three years following the Brexit referendum, every single indication from Theresa May’s government was that both of these successful policies would be continued seamlessly even when the UK was no longer formally part of the EU. So UK product policy on energy usage would remain aligned with that in operation right across Europe – likely to remain UK manufacturers’ largest single market. This continuity would have ensured that the energy savings already achieved would remain for future years. And as new products continue to be added to the substantial list of those covered, the expectation had been that UK manufacturers operating in each sector would continue to make products that, at minimum, always complied with European standards. It is now becoming clear that this is no longer the policy of any Johnson-led Government. Initial revelations from respected sources like the Financial Times and the Economist magazine have hinted that the international trade department is informing those in non-European countries that such “environmental” standards could become “more flexible”. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted that this was his understanding too.
Business Green 21st Nov 2019 read more »