Following the announcement in the budget that the CRC was either to be scrapped or simplified the DECC has today opened its consultation on how to make the unpopular scheme easier to administer.
The new slimmed-down version of the CRC is designed to cut costs by almost two-thirds and generate savings of around £330 million up to 2030.
But the consultation opened on a day when the government again shelved plans to force companies to report their carbon emissions. Defra announced that “no decision has yet been reached” on a topic it has been considering since December 2009. It added that ministers need more time to consider submissions to the latest consultation. The government was forced to make the announcement as the Parliamentary recess, which starts today, means the 6 April deadline required by the 2008 Climate Change Act would otherwise be missed.
The CBI, a firm supporter of mandatory carbon emissions reporting, has accused the government of ‘fudging’ the issue by moving it down the agenda.
In his Budget last week, Chancellor George Osborne threatened to replace the “cumbersome and bureaucratic” scheme with an alternative environment tax if savings cannot be found by this Autumn.
The set of proposed changes will shorten the CRC qualification process and will simplify what counts as a supply. In addition, the number of fuels covered by the scheme will be reduced from 29 to four.
The Government also plans to reduce the reporting required by cutting the number of reports that participants are required to submit and the length of time participants need to keep records.
The 92-page consultation document, which is accompanied by an administration cost analysis from KPMG and an Impact Assessment, aims to cut the burden for companies caught not just by the CRC but also other climate change initiatives by removing their obligation to take part in all schemes.
Climate change Minister Greg Barker said the Government will look to reduce the overlap between schemes at registration.
He added: “In particular, climate change agreement facilities and EU emissions trading system installations will not be required to purchase CRC allowances. Our proposals will also create greater alignment between CRC and company greenhouse gas reporting (GHG) by adopting for CRC the emission factors used for GHG reporting purposes.
“These proposals will help us meet our simplification objective of optimising the projected energy and carbon savings delivered by the CRC energy efficiency scheme while reducing the complexity and administrative cost.”
The Performance League Table will remain in place for now; the report says “Government believes that it is important to see what impact the performance league table has in creating a reputational driver for energy efficiency. We need to learn the lessons from the publication of the first couple of Performance League Tables before making a decision on whether to amend this element of the scheme.”
Mr Barker said he hoped to implement the changes so the amended legislation could be in place by April 2013.
CarbonLow Emissions can offer accreditation to their CLEEAR Standard, a Carbon Trust equivalent Standard, certified under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme by the Environment Agency and which can help improve positioning in the League Table.
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