Freight Transport Association (FTA) is concerned about the financial burden of the proposed introduction of energy audits for large UK companies.
In accordance with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, large companies will be required to conduct energy audits every four years, with the first occurring by 5 December 2015. The audits will cover transport, buildings and industrial operations. This is the first time that transport including commercial vehicles have come under scope of a UK energy/carbon reporting scheme.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is currently consulting on the UK’s approach to the Directive requirements and has announced the Energy Opportunities Saving Scheme (ESOS).
Businesses including own-account operators and third party logistics companies will be required to undertake accredited ESOS assessments where recommendations will be made on how they can further reduce energy usage. Although, there will be no legal requirement to implement the recommendations.
Rachael Dillon, FTA’s Climate Change Policy Manager said:
"Reducing energy usage and carbon emissions should be an important part of any company’s strategy as in the long run it can reduce costs. If Government must proceed with the introduction of energy audits to adhere to EU obligations, it must work with the grain of industry. Otherwise, we simply end up with a time consuming and financially burdensome scheme."
According to the consultation’s Impact Assessment, it will cost the average road haulier £23,000 to conduct an energy audit. Fuel makes up around 40 per cent of a haulier’s operating costs meaning that there is already a huge incentive to reduce energy.
The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme managed by FTA which records, reports and reduces carbon emissions from freight transport has already demonstrated the benefits of a voluntary led approach to reducing energy usage. It is questionable how much further progress Energy Audits will bring towards making industry more efficient.
The ESOS will sit alongside the existing Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) covering large non-energy intensive companies and mandatory greenhouse gas reporting obligations for quoted companies which comes into force on 1 October 2013.
"We are concerned about the financial burden that the ESOS will place on industry coupled with a myriad of policies which creates confusion and duplication, it is therefore essential that DECC seeks to take as simplified approach as possible. In particular, FTA welcomes the acknowledgement of existing standards such as ISO14001 which will be accredited as part of the ESOS. However, the details of exactly how commercial vehicle fleets will be audited remains woolly"
FTA will be responding to DECC’s consultation on the requirements for freight operators.