The Prime Minister’s decision to water down energy and environmental policies should come as no surprise as there never was a proper plan for delivery, according to David Frise, chief executive of the Building Engineering Services Association.
He welcomed some of the measures included in the announcement and the apparent focus on making the targets more achievable, but he warned that the government was playing a ‘dangerous game with business confidence.’ He said:
“It has been clear for some time that political will was wavering and that there never was a coherent plan for meeting net zero targets. This constant chopping and changing on policy is hugely damaging to business confidence. It makes it much harder to persuade the relevant companies to invest in the necessary technology, processes, and skills.”
He said that building engineering contractors are justifiably suspicious of any new ‘initiatives’ announced by the government:
“So many of these have been dumped in the past. This damages their credibility yet further and many firms could delay making changes, believing that the government will shift policy at the last minute whenever something becomes politically difficult. The Building Safety Act is a particular concern and any change of tack on that would be disastrous for the future of the industry.”
The Association welcomed the additional funding for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. However, it warned against a proposal that the £7,500 funding towards a heat pump would be available without applicants having to make the necessary energy efficiency upgrades to their homes to ensure the technology performed to its full potential.
It also called for the government to stick by its original plan to force property landlords to meet energy efficiency upgrade targets. David Frise said:
“Refurbishment and retrofitting of buildings is an essential underpinning part of net zero that will also cut energy bills for the ‘hard pressed families’ the Prime Minister says he wants to support.”
He also called for an end to what he called ‘government by announcement’:
“I still believe we can get to net zero by 2050, but it won’t be because of a series of announcements. It will be because engineers have worked out how to do it and businesses have invested in the technologies and the talent to make it deliverable.”
More industry reactions to the Prime Minster’s announcement here.