Energy industry trade body critiques PM's row back on private rented sector energy efficiency upgrade targets


Energy UK, 'The voice of the energy industry', has joined a chorus of disapproval expressed over the Prime Minister's scrapping of, amongst other targets, domestic energy efficiency targets planned for the PRS.

The plan, arrived at after a wide ranging consultation which closed in 2021, involved minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) which would see requirements for PRS homes under new tenancies to have reached EPC rating C from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028.

Energy UK said in its response to the PM's announcement that "Sudden changes to policies and targets like this are damaging to the very investment we need to fund the move to net zero .... Businesses need certainty and stability when making long term investments .... That way businesses can invest, innovate and bring down the costs of low-carbon technologies that we need to adopt like heat pumps and electric vehicles" adding that an estimated 70% of green funding would come from the private sector.

The energy industry trade body then went on to say that it welcomed the announced "extra support for customers with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme" which would see grants raised to over £7000 but added that businesses needed a "clear vision and plan .... acknowledging the evidence showing that a slower approach makes reaching the target more difficult and more expensive .... We have seen the result when green targets have been shelved in the past - not least when customers have had to pay hundreds of pounds more in energy bills because they live in draughty properties."

As many other organisations involved with the PRS have raised concerns about the effect of the announcement on those on low incomes who live in poor quality rented housing, the organisation concluded that " ... it can't be emphasised enough that what has hit people in the pocket hard over the last 18 months - through record energy bills, the resulting effect on inflation and the cost-of-living - has been the cost of oil and gas."

The National Residential Landlords Organisation, whilst welcoming the announcement due to the fact that many landlords are currently also suffering financially, also said that certainty was needed by the private rented sector. Ben Beadle, the NRLA Chief Executive, said "Landlords are struggling to make investment decisions without a clear idea of the Government's direction of travel .... ministers need to use the space they are creating to develop a full plan that supports the rental market to make the energy efficiency improvements we all want to see." The organisation say it will be seeking more detail from the Government.

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