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The Scottish Government have issued a consultation on the Scottish EPC Register that includes the following proposed fee increase for lodgements:
- £2.60 for domestic EPCs (an increase of £1.45); and
- £12.10 for non-domestic EPCs (an increase of £6.74)
This raises both fees by approximately 125% and would provide projected annual revenue of just over £650,000.
Consultation is an essential part of the policy-making process. It gives the Scottish Government an opportunity to consider your opinion on any proposed updates.
Please see here for the full consultation (including analysis of costs to support change to lodgement fee):
- Legionella bug lurking in 1.5 Million British homes
- Researchers warn killer disease is on the rise – and showers could be to blame
- Households could be harbouring the potentially fatal legionella organism
- Bug causes legionnaire’s disease, can lead to pneumonia and organ failure
- Sufferers infected when they inhale tiny airborne droplets of ridden water
Showers in homes across Britain are contaminated with a deadly bug that kills dozens of people every year, Government experts warn.
Research reveals up to 1.5 million households in the UK could be harbouring the potentially fatal legionella organism. The bug causes legionnaire’s disease, which can lead to life-threatening pneumonia and organ failure.
Sufferers are infected when they inhale tiny airborne droplets of bacteria-ridden water.
The deadly disease is usually linked with large buildings – such as hotels and office blocks – with complex water systems where the bacteria can spread easily.
But scientists at Public Health England (PHE) have found that the killer organism is on the increase in domestic homes. Experts fear household showers may be to blame for hundreds of cases each year where the source of infection cannot be identified.
The bug thrives in stagnant water above 20C. Showers, taps and wash basins can become contaminated if they are not used for a few days. Even garden hosepipes can harbour the bug if they are left filled with cold water that heats up to the right temperature in the sun.
Legionnaire’s disease strikes about 500 people a year in England, killing around one in ten. A 2012 outbreak in Edinburgh resulted in four deaths and nearly 100 people being treated.
Infection rates are rising across the world as more people take showers rather than baths. The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says cases have hit record levels on the continent.
Initial symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and headache. But within ten days, sufferers can develop life-threatening pneumonia and kidney failure.
Survivors often have to take antibiotics for months to try to clear the bug from their systems.
PHE infection experts took samples from 99 showers in 82 properties in Bristol, Bath, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton and Salisbury. Water was extracted from shower heads left idle for a few hours and swabs were taken from bathroom pipes.
The results, published in the International Journal Of Hygiene And Environmental Health, revealed that nearly a third of samples tested positive for legionella. Researchers said six per cent of properties had dangerously high levels of the bug – the equivalent to 1.5 million households in the UK.
Three samples included a virulent new strain of the bug not seen before in the UK.
The researchers warned: ‘This study is the first to investigate the prevalence of legionella in UK household showers. It shows they may be important reservoirs.’
They warned that electric showers – originally thought to be safer because they heat water directly from the mains rather than from a tank – are just as dangerous, with similar contamination rates.
Scientists urged the public to use showers as often as possible to prevent water stagnating, and to clean shower heads regularly.
Microbiologist Dr Tom Makin urged homeowners returning from holiday to ‘flush out’ showers for several minutes. He added: ‘Hold your breath, turn the shower on and leave the bathroom. And don’t go back in for a while as contaminated droplets can remain airborne for up to 30 minutes.’
Source: Daily Mail
Leaked documents suggest the UK is lobbying to weaken one of the EU’s main energy efficiency laws.
A series of files, obtained by Greenpeace, are alleged to show the British Government is trying to lower the EU 2030 target of improving energy efficiency from 30 per cent to 27 per cent and make it non-binding.
Green campaigners have warned the Conservative’s efforts could undermine energy targets and lead to weaker climate policies after Brexit – some have suggested it’s a sign the party would dilute or abolish existing energy and climate policies after Brexit.
The UK previously welcomed the targets, which end in 2020, as an important driver for reducing consumer bills and reliance on energy imports.
Hannah Martin, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, believes the government is trying to “lock the rest of the EU into weaker energy policies, just as we are leaving.”
“The message ministers seem to be sending is that Brexit could trigger a race to the bottom and be used as cover for getting rid of key environmental safeguards,” she said.
The government is also allegedly pushing to drop an obligation on suppliers, including the Big Six, to cut the amount of energy they sell during the next decade.
Under the EU’s plan, energy firms would have to achieve energy savings of 1.5 per cent a year until 2030.
Shetland’s new five-year smart grid integration project has been dubbed a success by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
The £18m Northern Isles New Energy Solutions (NINES) project, which incorporated a local energy system using large scale storage and new forms of network management, combined domestic demand side management (DSM) with a 1MW battery at Shetland’s main power supply, Lerwick Power Station, and new monitoring and control systems to form an advanced Active Network Management (ANM) system.
The ANM was then used to manage five renewable energy schemes connected to the distribution electricity network. According to SSEN, by using this smart technology to manage how and when the energy is used, while maintaining system reliability and safety, more than 8.545MW of new renewable energy has been connected on Shetland.
This represents a trebling of renewable energy capacity, which is being stored in the Lerwick battery at times of low demand, along with capacity from new storage heaters and hot water tanks installed by Shetland based Hjaltland Housing Association. This was managed by the ANM to be used at a time when it was needed to supply people with electricity or heat.
The combination of these technologies has resulted in the daily average of renewable generation on Shetland reaching 30 per cent of energy requirements, while a 10 per cent reduction the the diesel used at the power station has also been recorded.
Stewart Reid, head of asset management and innovation at SSEN, believes that by creating flexible demand on the islands, through the use of smart technology and energy storage, the company have made progress in exploiting and maximising Shetland’s renewable generation potential and reducing the generated output from thermal power stations.
“This was an important achievement as it will inform the transition to a low carbon economy. It also offered us the opportunity to trial the technology in an environment which could then be applied to the wider-GB electricity network,” he said.
“NINES demonstrated that it was possible to fully integrate domestic properties with an ANM system and allow appliances and heating systems in the home to play their part in meeting the challenges of de-carbonising the UK’s energy systems.
“In Shetland this participation has not only served to reduce peak demand on Shetland, it has also allowed a higher utilisation of renewable energy. There is significant roll out potential in the UK with over 2.2 million homes currently using electrical heating systems, which could adopt similar technology.”
The NINES project proved more successful in gaining benefit from domestic assets than other recent projects, such as WPD’s Sunshine Tariff trial which tested the ability of time of use (ToU) tariffs to promote domestic demand side response. It concluded that the practicalities of using such a tariff meant it wasn’t “feasible under market conditions”.
Thanks to the learnings gained from NINES, new ANMs are being rolled out elsewhere to help the transition towards low carbon networks and realise smart grids.
British industry overwhelmingly wants to see the retention of European energy standards, after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019, the House of Commons Business Select Committee has concluded.
In its final report issued during the General Election campaign, the all-party committee considered the likely impact of Brexit upon energy and climate change policy.
It began by acknowledging that, prior to the referendum, EU policies were expected to achieve 50 per cent of the UK’s emissions reductions needed from buildings between 2015 and 2030, to remain on track to meet the 2050 targets specified in the Climate Change Act 2008 – the retention of which was now common ground between all political parties apart from UKIP.
Similarly EU energy product standards were expected to be the largest contributor to energy bill reductions over the next decade.
The Committee acknowledged that there is “widespread support” for the retention of EU –derived policies, which “have contributed to significant improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings and products, with benefits in terms of emission reductions, reduced household bills and consumer protection.”
The MPs concluded: “Industry would in particular prefer European energy product standards to be retained. These are likely to be applied in practice, due to the continuing need to trade with EU countries. If our formal standards diverge from those applying in European countries, there is a risk that the UK could become a dumping ground for energy inefficient products.”
The Committee posited that the policy option most amenable to change could be revisions to VAT. During the Vote Leave campaign the present foreign secretary Boris Johnson had argued that, once outside the EU, the UK would be able to scrap VAT on household bills. This had been attacked as distorting the marketplace even further, with consumption charged at 0 per cent VAT, while energy-conserving measures like condensing boilers and low emissivity glass currently incurred 20 per cent VAT.
The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, told the Committee that cutting VAT on household bills “is not something we have been actively looking at.”
While making no commitment regarding the desirability of removing VAT entirely on fuel, there was no equivocation from the MPs regarding the alternative option. “We recommend that the Government reduces VAT on energy efficiency products after the UK leaves the EU”. This was because “a reduction in VAT on energy efficiency products would support consumers in using less energy. This would help to address both fuel poverty and decarbonisation objectives.”
Limejump has won a contract to manage UK Power Networks’ Smarter Network Storage facility, the biggest battery in Britain, in the balancing markets.
Through dynamic frequency response, Limejump will ensure that the battery, located in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, continues to support the increase of renewables in the UK’s energy mix when it’s not supporting the local distribution network.
UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity to more than 8m homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England, developed the first large standalone battery in the UK to trial the technology and aid the transition to a more flexible electricity system. The company has outsourced the commercial operations of the facility to ensure that engagement with the market is done independently to meet its legal obligations as a DNO.
The battery has an energy storage capacity of 6MW and 10MWh, which is enough to import or export continually 6MW of power for an hour and a half, and its principal function is to support the local network during winter peaks. Limejump will use the battery’s energy the rest of the year to help keep the transmission grid balanced through demand response at sub-second granularity.
When fluctuations from balancing the grid with renewable power generation occur, Limejump will be able to action quick charges and discharges, with the use of batteries.
Limejump claims to operate the largest portfolio of energy storage projects in the UK, combining speed of response with the flexibility of distributed generators and commercial assets to enable the full portfolio to participate in the UK’s only dynamic frequency response contracts.
A number of Energy Assessors would have noted the recent changes to the QA File Uploader used for auditing submission. The new system enables Energy Assessors to label their evidence appropriately to provide a clearer view of their evidence package. Whilst many of these tags relate to domestic assessment, there are still appropriate labels for non-domestic work.
The uploader can handle batch selection as well as drag-and-drop functionality. We’ve also added an easier image preview in the Documents page to review all the uploaded files.
We have produced a helpful guide for using this new process; CLICK HERE TO READ.
Quidos have updated their advice to Energy Assessors for the provision of EPCs to rental properties to conform under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Properties) Regulations 2015, more commonly known as MEES.
A general overview of these requirements can be found on the Quidos website:
The guidance reviews listed buildings, exemptions, and the upcoming PRS Exemptions Register.
Due to the complexities of MEES recommendations and paybacks for Non-Domestic assessment, our training team have worked on a 30-minute CPD module to give further details on the Regulations and their impact for NDEAs.
This module can be found by following:
In recent months, we have noted from audit feedback that basic elements of an Energy Assessor’s on-site kit are not being used effectively, or are missing completely.
Element 4.1 of the National Occupational Standards for DEAs (which should be read in line with the Quidos Code of Conduct) states that Assessors must be able to:
…ensure that you have the equipment and resources needed for the inspection
One area of this would be to ensure that you have a meter box key in order to accurately ascertain the type of meter within the dwelling. Meter box keys are very easy to get hold of from hardware stores, or online; having a locked meter box should not be a factor in missing evidence required for auditing.
With the publication of historical EPC data in England & Wales by DCLG, it has become clear that Energy Assessors may not be cancelling defective or incorrect reports and leaving them on the Register.
There is a common misconception that lodging a new report will ‘supersede’ any live reports from the Register.
Whilst it is true that the newer report will be the first one to be downloaded, any reports with errors will still be showing as ‘Entered’ on the Register and therefore, part of property history for that building.
Obviously, there are a number of reasons why multiple EPCs may be lodged against a specific property UPRN, but this is specifically looking at instances where you have lodged a new report to replace one which has an issue with it. The issue could relate to an auditing failure or feedback from a client. We should note that a specific RdSAP Convention relates to this matter:
Convention 9.03 – If you lodge an EPC in error and lodge a corrected EPC, inform your accreditation scheme so that the erroneous one can be marked “not for issue”.
Quidos would request that all Energy Assessors review their lodgements and, where an incorrect report has been replaced, cancel the incorrect RRN as soon as possible.
Energy Assessors ARE NOT CHARGED for cancelling reports.
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