Another wonder of ‘green’ bureaucracy: UK businesses could be forced to pay a fine of up to £50,000 plus a maximum daily top-up of £500 if they don’t comply with ESOS by December 5th.
Never heard of ESOS? Well, there’s the problem, or part of it. It’s the UK’s ‘Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme’ for large businesses. Business Surveyor UK reports.
According to a press release by Veolia dated 17th September, the Environment Agency has revealed that only 150 companies have submitted audits as part of ESOS. This is actually lower than the figure that had previously been reported, which showed 152 companies compliant as of 25th August. Veolia gained this information via a Freedom of Information request.
Pat Gilroy, Chief Operating Officer of Industrial Customers Veolia UK, which is helping companies carry out ESOS audits, said: “The fines are very big, but the intent of the scheme should benefit all. Even with the push to inform businesses it seems almost impossible that thousands of businesses will have their audits in on time. Part of the problem is that there is a colossal shortfall in the number of qualified auditors – an issue that is likely to get worse as the deadline approaches.”
“Not only are these companies risking fines, they are also missing out on the chance to reduce overheads by cutting their energy bills. I urge companies to pay attention to this warning and arrange their audits today to help save precious resources and improve carbon performance.”
Veolia says that over 10,000 unsuspecting UK companies could be heading for ESOS fines totalling over £900m if they fail to comply with the scheme and with 78 days to go, time is running out, especially for companies who need to hire an ESOS surveyor for the task. Companies that fail to complete their audits by 5 December face a basic fine of £50,000, plus £500 a day capped at a maximum of 80 days.
The Environment Agency has already sent out two letters to inform and remind companies about their ESOS obligations.
Strange to see businesses being harassed like this while Drax power station is allowed to burn millions of tons of wood pellets aka biomass. Surely any sensible business would seek to minimise its energy costs anyway.