Europe prepares for major energy-efficiency drive

The European Union has moved to tighten rules on the efficient use of energy – but the UK government has been accused of watering down the targets.

According to The Guardian, leaked documents showed that UK officials pushed for voluntary energy reduction targets, instead of the originally planned mandatory target of 20 per cent reductions by 2020.

The new Energy Efficiency Directive introduces targets for public sector buildings and utilities. Countries will have to draw up plans to make their buildings sectors more efficient, while energy companies will be asked to reduce sales to industrial and household clients by at least 1.5 per cent a year.

Meanwhile the UK government is fighting to keep VAT on energy-efficiency products at the reduced rate of five per cent, after Brussels said it had to be put back to the standard rate of 20 per cent.

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