EDITOR'S BLOG
Improve the CRC but don’t scrap it

Any move to axe red tape has to be welcome, right?

So when the chancellor announced in his budget that he wants to cut the bureaucracy associated with the Carbon Reduction Commitment, well, that’s got to be a good thing?

Well, yes in the sense that if it makes the CRC more effective in reducing energy use and makes it easier for businesses to comply, then obviously that’s a good thing.

But the suspicion has to be that George Osborne is indulging in ‘dog whistle’ politics. He doesn’t like the CRC and would scrap it in the morning if he could. His mates in the CBI hate it too and want to axed in this autumn’s review. So don’t be surprised if the chancellor announces in September that the bureaucratic savings couldn’t be made, and the CRC, sadly, must be rolled into the Climate Change Levy.

It will be a sad end for what was, originally, an inspired and innovative piece of legislation. It was, lest we forget, designed as a ‘cap and trade’ scheme. You paid up if you were an above-average polluter, and you got brownie points (in the published league tables) and money in the form of rebates if you were a below-average polluter.

But then Osborne decided that paying out cash wasn’t a brilliant idea in these austere time, and decided to drop that element of the CRC. He took away the carrot and left the stick. No wonder businesses don’t like it.

The trouble is if, as is likely, the CRC is folded into the Climate Change Levy it will simply mean that energy costs have gone up. It doesn’t concentrate the mind in quite the same way as the original CRC. Which is a shame.

What Osborne doesn’t get is that an energy-efficient business is a good business, and a sustainable one.

The average age of a lighting installation in the UK is 18 years. That was the Jurassic era when you consider the technological revolution that has taken place in the lighting industry since.

The big wins in lighting are in the current building stock, not in new build. We shouldn’t be getting excited about improvements to Part L of the Building Regulations because it represents such a small slice of the market.

No, we need to tackle the existing lighting stock, all those reflector lamps, T12s, electromagnetic gear and the like. And we need imaginative schemes like the CRC to do it. Scrapping it will set that cause back years.

‘The average age of a lighting installation in the UK is 18 years. That was the Jurassic era when you consider the technological revolution that has taken place since’

Ray Molony, editor@archive.luxmagazine.co.uk

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