UK General Election

The news is in, Brexit deadlock and the impasse in Parliament may be removed; a General Election is coming.

Barely hours after the reality hit home, commentators have already been seeking out the potential impacts on energy efficiency and low carbon.

Energy Live News writes that 54% of all adults say climate change will influence the way they vote at the next election, with 70% believing the climate emergency demands more urgent action.

Around 63% say global warming is now the biggest issue facing humanity, with the same proportion of people believing politicians are not talking enough about the issue.

Crucially for energy efficiency, 61% said they want to bring forward the 2050 deadline for reducing UK emissions to Net Zero.

ClientEarth Lawyer Jonathan Church told Energy Live: “It’s clear the public want to see more from the UK government: more ambition to achieve the goal of zero net emissions and more concrete action to stop current carbon reduction targets from going unmet.

“The public also wants more action locally – investment in cleaner transport and more energy efficient homes.”

If ClientEarth’s reading of the public mood is correct, it may indeed be that how loudly political parties shout about carbon may influence not only who makes up the next government, but whether it can move beyond Brexit to politics as normal too.

Draft Environment Bill

In a frenetic few days in Westminster, prior to the Election announcement, the Conservatives had put forward their draft Environment Bill, available here.

It enshrined commitments to Net Zero 2050 and promised a new regulatory body, but plenty of comment at the time warned it couldn’t pass through Westminster given the existing numbers in Parliament.

Now, it stands as a manifesto promise for the Conservatives on environment. There were positives within, but concerns existed on deadlines and the true teeth of the regulatory body.

Low carbon firms must now wait and see whether tighter scrutiny of the Bill will be needed, should Conservatives retain power in the coming months.

Grant Funding

Given recent political turmoil, many firms will be wanting to simply get things done. They will be pleased, as Energy News Live reports, to see businesses in the UK are being offered a share of £5 million for “fast start” projects to improve the energy efficiency of foundation industries.

These include cement, paper, glass, ceramics, metals and bulk chemicals. The grant from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will fund cross-sector and collaborative research and development (R&D) projects aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of the sectors’ companies and supply chains and encourage them to stay in the UK.

The competition is open for applications and closes on 5th February 2020.

Simple wins out

Finally this month, EDIE has reported that EDF Energy revealed measures such as installing energy efficient lighting and better heating management could create more than £45m in energy cost savings across 4,150 analysed sites.

EDF Energy analysed the energy consumption at different sites, including schools, hospitals, hotels, offices and police stations. The results showed that 62% could generate cost savings through lighting improvements, while 61% could improve the heating schedule.

EDF Energy claimed that the average UK organisation could achieve annual energy savings totalling more than £46,000 by grasping the low-hanging fruit of energy management.

“We hope the forthcoming General Election will give UK business the clarity it requires to return to an ‘as normal’ scenario,” comments Kevin Cox, our Managing Director at Energys Group.

“If we can get back to business as normal, these statistics prove yet again why Energys is here; to enable the transition to low carbon business that delivers long term jobs and long term economic prosperity.

“Were we standing for election, that would be our slogan. Given we are not, we simply hope for clarity to enable us to do our best work for a lower carbon UK.”

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