The Environment Agency (EA) has just released revised guidance on the enforcement of ESOS compliance for businesses that it expects could fail to meet the looming deadline on the 5 December 2015.
The ESOS Regulations already had penalties explained; the below information further clarifies how the EA intends to enforce and apply the legislation.
- If a company notifies the EA by 29th January 2016, it is not expected that enforcement action will be taken. Companies still trying to push through ISO 50001 as a form of compliance now have until 30th June to gain certification.
- Enforcement notices from the EA to producers believed to be out of compliance legally forces them to provide information about their situation, and will be used to make companies declare their status. The EA suggest a three-month window is likely to be given to rectify the non-compliance situation, still allowing for civil penalties in serious instances, however.
- Organisations with 40,000kWh/yr or below (classed as domestic usage), have relaxed the auditing requirements. They can offer self-declaration with their own documented energy saving opportunities and usage, as part of their evidence pack.
- Organisations that qualify but have zero energy consumption will only need to declare this to the EA, and other sections of the ESOS regulations will not be enforced.
This additional information comes amid speculation within the energy auditing sector and is not entirely unexpected. Although the EA say this is not an extension, it does sound very much like an extension, allowing the EA discretion over enforcement penalties.
Many of the lead assessors we work with have indicated the deadline might be extended. They have reported increasing demand, and some assessors have turned down large projects arising so late in the year. This demand has also pleased those who do have capacity to take on such projects.
Here at ecosurety, our existing producer responsibility experience had already led us to believe there would be a light touch when it came to enforcement, due to the non-changeable nature of the regulations and the capacity for discretion available to enforcement bodies.
However, the latest update appears to be a real mixture. On the whole it appears to be a pragmatic approach to solving a potentially significant issue for thousands of UK business. It essentially allows the EA to take a case-by-case approach when it comes to non-compliant companies, of which there could potentially be a great many.
At the start of October just 359 companies had submitted their ESOS certification, out of an estimate 15,000 eligible companies across the UK.
If your company is still working through ESOS compliance, please get in touch. We have a number of lead assessors available experienced in a number of different sectors or primary energy users. A quick turnaround, and specific energy saving reports, will help cut costs in the future, as well as ensure you comply with the letter of the law.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.
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