By Daniel Hunter

Local Authorities across the country are being asked to provide evidence of how they are meeting energy efficiency regulations, set out by Europe.

The request has been issued amid fears that many Local Authorities are in breach of the regulations and are potentially ignoring the opportunity to improve energy efficiency and as a result, reduce the fuel bills of their public buildings.

This week, letters have been sent by the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) to the Chief Executive of every Local Authority in England and Wales. The letters set out the trade body’s concerns that many Authorities are not meeting the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and do not have valid or up to date Display Energy Certificate (DECs) on display in their buildings. The letters request that each Local Authority provides details of all buildings in their region, which currently do not comply.

As of 1st August 2007, all Local Authorities have had an obligation to ensure that the relevant public buildings in their region, comply with the EPBD. The European Directive states that DECs, which detail a building’s energy consumption, should be on display in public buildings over 1,000 square meters. From January this year that requirement has been extended to buildings of greater than 500 square metres.

Stephen O’Hara, Chairman of the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), said: “It is very worrying that Local Authorities are missing the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and save their local rate payers money in the process. According to David Cameron, this is meant to be the greenest Government ever, but it seems that by and large, Local Authorities are making a mockery of this claim. We are now taking action to understand how many Local Authorities are flaunting the law, by issuing a request under the FOI Act to all Local Authorities, asking them to provide details of those buildings in their regions, which do not currently comply with the EPBD regulations.

“Where used effectively DECs can prove an excellent tool in helping the occupants of public buildings to understand its energy consumption and the ways in which they can reduce this — helping them to save energy and to reduce fuel bills — fuel bills which are ultimately paid for with public money. It is clear that many Authorities are not complying with the EPBD regulations that require DECs to be in place and that the Trading Standards Officers, which are part of those same Authorities, are not discharging their legal responsibilities to ensure compliance with the law. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

In the letters distributed to the Chief Executives of each Local Authority, PEPA has requested under the FOI Act, the full address details of any property within their Authority, which does not have a current DEC as required by the EPBD regulations.

Further to the request, but not as part of it, PEPA has also asked those Authorities, which do comply with the regulations, to share with them evidence of the benefits of the constructive use of DECs.
A detailed report, summarising the findings will be published, once all of the necessary information has been received.

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