Brexit: a political quagmire?

By in DEA on June 10, 2016

The EU referendum is looming into view and soon the UK will be heading to the polls to decide the fate of our membership of the EU. The political machine is already working at full velocity and any number of politicians, analysts and influencers will be rolled out over the next few weeks to deliver their opinion on the matter of Brexit. Though the result is far from a foregone conclusion, there are potential implications for the energy assessment industry.

A simplistic view would suggest that an exit from the EU will render the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) null and void. It is of course a directive designed by the EU that governs the requirement for an EPC.

However, the EPBD itself is driven by commitments made by countries in response to the Kyoto Treaty in 1989. Even if the UK never became part of the EU, we would still have to honour commitments to reduce carbon emissions and hit targets on energy efficiency measures.

I therefore, am in the belief that the UK would still require a standardised method of producing asset ratings for the buildings and dwellings in the UK. The EPBD simply gave us a date with which we started that process and how often we should check the progress of the improvements to our stock. Re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, would seem a pointless exercise, when we have a robust set of methodologies that work right now.

I do believe that following any ‘No’ vote; the UK would enter a period of uncertainty, whereby there would be discussion of what is going to happen with many laws that were instigated by Europe. This would not be welcome in the energy assessment industry as I believe any reason to not get an EPC produced would be taken – a path of least resistance. I do however believe that an exit wouldn’t spell the end of our industry – far from it.

The most startling aspect to the debate is that there is no clear picture of what the UK will look like outside of the EU. When ‘Out’ pronounce one thing, ‘In’ counters with the opposite and there is little concrete evidence to back up either argument. In truth, there is no way to predict the future and those who claim that ability are luckier than the rest of us. This article is not intended to sway opinion but I hope it offers some small guidance before 23rd June 2016. What I will say is that at the time of writing I am yet to hear a compelling argument to leave the EU and until that happens I remain unconvinced.

Stroma Certification has been reluctant to portray an overtly political stance on an issue which has implications far beyond our own industry. Our focus whether inside or outside the EU has and will always be the wellbeing and prosperity of our members. It is important for the company to continue its commitment to diversification in certification and training to ensure our members have the skillset to prosper in an ever-evolving industry.

Andrew Parkin

Andrew is the Technical Manager and is responsible for the Technical Support functions of all EPBD schemes within Stroma. He has never written a blog before, so is interested in seeing how this will be received by the scheme members.

6 thoughts on “Brexit: a political quagmire?

  1. 1

    I am in favour of remaining in the EU. It appears the no vote is mostly based on immigration issues which the EU has done little to regulate. I would be concerned about long term security issues. I am based in Northern Ireland and believe an exit from the EU would have a significant negative economic result in NI as trade with the ROI would be made difficult. An exit would be difficult to quantify. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t!

  2. 2

    Well said Andrew. The problem with brexiteers is that they give no indication whatsoever of what laws will stand, and how workers’ rights and the environment will continue to be protected. Most of the push for both these things have come from the EU.

  3. 3

    The one thing that this uncertainty has done. It has stopped me from investing in new skills and courses. An OUT vote will increase my uncertainty as we cannot be sure what will be kept and discarded. This industry is littered with past scams and schemes, wasted opportunities, courses and exams taken and qualifications rendered useless and money poured down the drain with no compensation.
    A question I ask is where is the leadership from Certification Schemes but then I remind myself that changes are a cash cow for training organisations.

  4. 4

    Given this government’s contemptuous attitude to renewables and energy efficiency so far this term, and the last, I fear an even more right wing version led by the Conservative Brexit team would do our industry even fewer favors, and quite likely do away with EPCs and DECs altogether, spinning out their demise as ‘cutting EU red tape’. The Stroma Blog mentions Kyoto as a reason our industry might be saved, but we only have to look back to last Autum/Winter to the lip-service our government paid to the Paris Climate Conference, whilst slashing FiTs for renewables and diverting the funds into diesel power stations, to see where their true commitments lie.

  5. 5

    I agree entirely. Having had a difficult time with a Government who is hardly pro energy efficiency, can we trust them if we were to leave. There would be so much uncertainty. Hopefully, we vote to Remain where we can carry on trying to make a living.

  6. Kieran Bradnock

    If STROMA has been reluctant to portray a political stance then I believe you should respect that and not abuse your privilege to have access to many, many people who are members and you also could’ve chose to remain neutral.

    We could discuss at length the pro’s and con’s but I don’t feel this is the place for that.

    Strange time to do a first blog.

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