Calls For EU To Take Action Against The UK For Failed Efficiency Measures

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An energy industry body has urged the European Union to investigate into the UK's failure to adhere to its energy-efficiency laws, The Guardian reports. In a move that could result in legal proceedings against the country, the Coalition for Energy Savings has stated that the UK has a "disturbing" history of not implementing energy-efficiency measures effectively.

The action was triggered by the results of a study by the AEA Ricardo consultancy, which found that the UK is significantly under-performing compared to countries such as Denmark and Ireland, coming in 13th place in the energy waste league tables.

While this seems unsatisfactory in itself, what most aggravated campaigners was the finding that some measures being used by the UK existed before the EU's energy efficiency ruling.

"Only half of what the UK has done so far is eligible," explained Stefan Scheuer, secretary-general to the coalition. "It is a clear case for the commission to start an investigation with a view to launching an infringement proceeding against the UK for a bad application of EU legislation."

This isn't the first time that the UK has been accused of not doing enough to comply with the EU directive. When the ruling was first drawn up, the government fought hard to be exempt from the compulsory 1.5% annual energy saving duty, and it has recently increased its energy savings obligations target by 7%.

Dora Petroula from Climate Action Network Europe argued that the UK is trying to "outsmart the system" by recording measures that don't go above the minimum EU regulations – which will do little to tackle the problem of wasteful energy use. 

A government spokesperson has defended the country's efforts, saying that it has "a strong track record on energy demand reduction."

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference due to be held in Paris later this year, it's expected that authorities will take even more of a serious stance on energy efficiency measures. 

One possible outcome of the investigation could be a stricter enforcement of efficiency measures across the UK; as buildings currently account for 40% of European carbon emissions, it's likely that this will start with ensuring businesses have the best possible energy management systems in place.

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