MP hits out at duplicate red tape on local renewable energy firms

Steve Barclay with Kevin Roberts of Evergreen
Steve Barclay with Kevin Roberts of Evergreen

Steve Barclay MP is calling for a crackdown on the illogical burden of red tape faced by local renewable energy firms after discovering that the same technology is subject to two totally separate Government-backed accreditation schemes.

The MP launched his campaign after meeting with Kevin Roberts, Company Director of Wisbech based Evergreen Ventures Ltd, a local provider of green energy solutions such as solar panels, heat pumps and solar thermal technology. The MP has submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions and also written to the Minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change to request an explanation as to why efforts to simplify the application processes for the schemes are not being looked at.

The MP discussed with Mr Roberts the barriers and extra cost involved in the requirements for small businesses to comply with the Micro-Generation Certification Scheme (MCS) and the Green Deal scheme, when installing the same energy-saving technologies like solar panels and heat pumps.

Mr Roberts highlighted the cost and time implications of this duplication, with the annual MCS accreditation alone costing over £5,000 for his firm of 15 staff, together with further compliance costs from the Green Deal launched in January 2013. Both schemes are supervised by the same Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Mr Barclay said: “It is immensely frustrating that small businesses like Evergreen Ventures ltd find themselves confronted with an unreasonable amount of bureaucracy, most of which serves no practical purpose for the customer. Whenever they install an energy-efficient technology such as a heat pump they have to fill out different sets of forms depending on how the job is being paid for, and some of these forms have changed 3 times over the last 18 months. This is time consuming, expensive, and does not give the customer any more information as to whether a supplier is able to install the technology as opposed to being good at filling out forms.

The MP has submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Department challenging its current approach.

Mr Barclay said: “Politicians of all parties say they want to cut red tape. Here we have a real life example of duplicate regulation that is of no practical benefit to the public. The Minister needs to step up to the challenge and streamline the rules. What matters is whether your heat pump or solar panel has been well installed, not whether the same information has been submitted to two different bodies both operating under rules from the same department. We need to get this fixed”.

Mr Roberts said: “I would like to thank Steve for his time, understanding and his instant grasp of the issues small companies such as mine face dealing with the ever growing bureaucracy needed to comply with the MCS and Green Deal schemes during our meeting last Friday. The level of bureaucracy that we face in complying with the various green schemes, both administered by the same government department, is equivalent to driving a car with the hand brake on!

“This is a chance to really streamline the paperwork process for both schemes so that the wider benefits of installing energy efficient products are felt by as many people as possible and in turn helping more householders reduce their long term running costs. I look forward to hearing the responses from the Minister.”