Dare I mention the “B” word? No, I will give you respite from the subject and will move along the alphabet swiftly to “E” or “EE” to be more exact – energy efficiency. Throughout 2018, we have witnessed fast-growing government commitment and parliamentary consensus on making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority. There is a clear recognition that energy efficiency is a policy that benefits constituents in multiple ways – from reducing energy bills to improving health to combating climate change – and spans across Whitehall objectives. Despite lacking in the ‘wow’ factor of other infrastructure projects and whilst many arguments have been around for many years, it is simply a win-win situation. It can deliver for government, for constituents, for everyone when other policy is stalling.
Now 2019 must be about keeping industry and government working together to shape and deliver energy efficiency policy for the next five to ten years. 2019 is about quality and safety of our buildings, driving Dame Judith Hackitt’s cultural change and most importantly ensuring we have the best possible policy environment to do so. This is an area that MPs do actually agree on whatever their party affiliation.
As a co-founder and member of the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), MIMA wants to focus attentions on the “can do” in these challenging political times with the focal point being HM Treasury’s Spending Review. This is the “defining chance” for setting departmental budgets and BEIS spending which could support the nucleus of a coherent programme on energy efficiency for England, that attempts to emulate the efforts of other UK administrations such as Scotland. We know that the holder of the purse strings, HM Treasury, will be particularly “focussed on cross-cutting issues” for government policy making and that includes looking at energy efficiency.
We are also awaiting the long-awaited BEIS ‘action plan’ on how it can meet its targets – EPC C by 2030 for the fuel poor and 2035 for everyone else [possibly published just before or around Easter]. MIMA and the EEIG aim to support cross-departmental bids and support ministers for a cohesive bid on energy efficiency – energy efficiency touches upon many departments – spanning BEIS, MHCLG, Health and HM Treasury – so a cross-departmental approach is absolutely vital for success.
We were also surprised at the end of 2018 with the positive news that our Parliamentarians on the BEIS committee will be holding an inquiry into energy efficiency and whether government policy is on track to meet its energy efficiency pledges. MIMA and other EEIG members have submitted their own evidence, realising that strong action is needed this year if government is even to meet its short term (to 2030) “assumed targets” for getting to net zero by 2050. We are confident that the BEIS select committee inquiry [already underway] will result in firm recommendations that hopefully prompt government into action.
As Elvis Presley sung, surely it is time for “A little less conversation, a little more action, please”. MIMA, the EEIG and its members are firmly in campaign mode to ramp up this momentum, trigger the Parliamentarians’ interest and coax and cajole the Government into “a little more action”….. please!
Sarah Kostense-Winterton is Executive Director of MIMA, the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association and co-founder and Chair of the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG).
MIMA represents four of the leading mineral wool insulation companies in the UK – Isover Saint-Gobain, Knauf Insulation, ROCKWOOL and Superglass, the industry trade body for non-combustible, breathable glass and stone wool insulation.
The Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG) is a collaboration of over 25 organisations including leading industry and trade bodies and consumer groups.