Brexit: a political quagmire?
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 â€˜Noâ€™ 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 â€“ a path of least resistance. I do however believe that an exit wouldnâ€™t spell the end of our industry â€“ 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 â€˜Outâ€™ pronounce one thing, â€˜Inâ€™ 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.