Local MEP Vicky Ford has been very influential in forcing Europe to take a more responsible approach to energy consumption. Last night crunch meetings between leading MEPs and representatives of national governments finally produced an agreement on promoting energy savings in buildings prior to the start of the Copenhagen summit on climate change.
The EPBD (Energy Performance in Buildings Directive) is seen as a key part of Europe's strategy to meet its 2020 targets for emissions, since over 40% of European energy consumption is in buildings.
The UK has already set ambitious building standards to help homeowners reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. The Directive, which seeks to align the rest of Europe closer to UK levels, had passed through the European parliament with an overwhelming majority back in April but hashing out the final details with national governments has taken until now.
The UK's self-imposed target is for all new buildings to be zero energy by 2016, whereas the new European standard will be for "nearly zero" buildings by 2020. The agreement still requires Parliament's rubber-stamp before passing into law.
UK Conservative Vicky Ford was one of five MEPs from across the continent leading the last minute negotiations, she said:
"The need to reduce energy use is a critical issue, not just because of climate change but also because of mounting concerns regarding energy security. We can act at a UK level but we need a more international solution - this is an area where the EU can add value.
"We have agreed standards for new buildings, for renovations of existing buildings and common procedures for Energy Performance Certificates which so many UK residents have already found critical in helping them reduce their own utility bills.
To achieve consensus on many key issues of energy use amongst 27 different countries is definitely a step in the right direction but if we are really to tackle the growing energy crisis mankind will need some bigger leaps"
Released by: Vicky Ford MEP
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