Consultation concerns raised with Government

CLA highlight concern over energy efficiency consultation with parliamentarians

Public Affairs Adviser Rosie Nagle reflects on a meeting where the CLA highlighted its concerns over an energy efficiency consultation with parliamentarians

The APPG for the Rural Powerhouse held a briefing this week for MPs and peers on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and the challenges they pose for rural properties.

The briefing followed the publication of a consultation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales which the CLA expressed its concerns on the absence of consideration given to rural homes.

The CLA believes the proposals contained in the consultation – including requiring all tenancies to be at a Band C energy efficiency rating from 2028 – will have unintended consequences in rural areas, not least because many rural properties will be simply unable to reach Band E or above. Additionally, the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) is calculated based on buildings of modern construction and often undervalues the actual thermal capacity of older buildings. This results in a lower energy efficiency rating and requires more intervention (and money) to meet the minimum standard. The CLA recommends that the assessment methodology must be fundamentally reviewed so that it more accurately assesses all buildings and recommends appropriate measures.

The APPG session briefed parliamentarians on the government’s current direction and MPs and peers were seized by the problems that this presented for rural areas.

There was consensus that this was an ill-thought through policy that had considerable unintended consequences, including a reduction in the private rented sector for rural properties that such a forced change would provoke. Furthermore, the shift of properties from the private rented sector into the owner occupier sector wouldn’t ultimately solve the problem of decarbonising rural homes, which the APPG agreed was critical in meeting the government’s net-zero ambitions.

The APPG is writing to the Energy Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, to convey their concerns over the proposals - and we are assisting in these efforts. MPs and peers voicing their concerns on this issue help raise attention to the absence of rural thinking in this area. Following our own correspondence with BEIS, we have secured a ministerial meeting to discuss the issue.