Fines have been issued for breaches of climate change schemes which are in place to help ensure the UK reaches its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
More than 30 companies have been issued with fines by the Environment Agency as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The fines have been issued for breaches of climate change schemes which are in place to help ensure the UK reaches its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Under the EU Emissions Trading System, firms running power plants and energy companies were fined after under-reporting their emissions for a specific year, while others failed to submit the necessary reports outlining their emissions for a specific year.
Under the Climate Change Agreements scheme, brewing and automotive companies are among those fined after failing to sufficiently reduce their energy use and carbon dioxide emissions – having signed up for a voluntary agreement with the Environment Agency which entitled them to a discount on the Climate Change Levy for doing so.
And under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, firms including those involved in insurance and the manufacture of machinery have been fined for failing to complete audits of the energy used by their business and failing to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.
The fines published in July cover the 2020-21 financial year, with more than £27 million of fines issued to 33 companies for breaches of the European Union Emissions Trading System, CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas regime.
Liz Parkes, Deputy Director for Climate Change at the Environment Agency, said:
These schemes are an important part of the nation’s efforts to reduce emissions and hit net zero by 2050.
The fines should serve as an important reminder for all organisations to ensure that they are compliant with these schemes and are playing their part in tackling climate change.
The UK is a world leader in the global effort to tackle climate change and was the first major economy to legislate to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The UK has set in law a highly ambitious climate change target, to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels and to net zero by 2050.
- The Environment Agency is responsible for the enforcement against breaches of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which from 2021 was replaced by the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS); the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC); Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS); Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas regime (F Gas); and Climate Change Agreements (CCA) in England.
- EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Qualifying organisations must surrender allowances equivalent to the amount of their emissions for each scheme year. If they fail to surrender sufficient allowances they may be subject to enforcement and receive a civil penalty. The fines levied under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme are mandatory and the Environment Agency has no discretion when taking enforcement or over the size of the penalty.
- Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme: Qualifying organisations must carry out audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures. If they fail to complete these audits they can be subject to enforcement and receive a civil penalty.
- Climate Change Agreements: These are voluntary agreements between UK industry and the Environment Agency to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In return, operators receive a discount on the Climate Change Levy (CCL) which is a tax added to electricity and fuel bills. If an operator fails to meet the requirements of their agreement then it may be subject to enforcement and receive a civil penalty.
Source: Environment Agency UK