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Energy bill lacks focus on efficiency say green builders

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Calls for measures to encourage frugal use of energy needed to meet carbon targets

A long-awaited government bill setting out the way in which Britain will meet its energy needs in the future has been criticised for its lack of focus on energy efficiency.

The Energy Bill will allow companies to charge households extra on their bills to fund the transition to low-carbon energy production.

Announcing the bill, the government said: “With a fifth of the UK’s electricity generating capacity due to close this decade, reforms are needed to provide certainty to investors to bring forward £110 billion investment in new infrastructure to keep the lights on and continue the shift to a diverse, low carbon economy as cheaply as possible.”

But green building experts warned that measures to encourage energy efficiency will be necessary to meet carbon reduction targets.

Paul King, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, said: “What is abundantly clear, but hasn’t had the prominence it deserves, is the importance of energy efficiency, in buildings and across the economy, if we’re to have any hope of meeting our carbon targets and keeping energy bills from spiralling out of control.”

An energy efficiency strategy was published by the government last week, but was immediately branded “disappointing”.

David Symons, director at consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, said: “By far the biggest impact the Government can have is to help struggling households and business use less energy in the first place. 

“The Green Deal retrofit programme will help to an extent, but there is still huge opportunity for further support – support which is barely mentioned in the Energy Bill, and which last week’s Energy Efficiency Strategy pays little more than lip service to.”

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