Mark Prisk MP, Shadow Minister for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has supported BEAMAS call for a real partnership and closer dialogue between industry and government.
As guest speaker at the associations Climate Change White Paper Update Briefing at Londons Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), he said these were key factors in developing the essential skills required to achieve UK business goals, and which BEAMA believes will ensure emerging technologies maximise the opportunities of low carbon solutions.
Mr Prisk emphasised that for the UK to remain competitive on the world stage it was essential that it had a strong skills and business agenda across Whitehall. There is a need to overhaul training. For example, by bringing back real apprenticeships and a work place training ethos.
Trade bodies have the skills to make this happen and Government should work with associations such as BEAMA to realise business-training aims.
Commenting that it was time for change, he maintained that the UK had been over-reliant on certain sectors, but manufacturing should be at the heart of the UKs economy to ensure the country exports far more.
Highlighting the electrotechnical industry has a crucial role, Mr Prisk said the right skills base and appropriate investment was essential so industry can grow - and enable the UK to be the Number One exporter of high technology.
He recognised the skills and depth of knowledge an organisation like BEAMA, through its broad members platform, offers Government in helping achieve such goals.
He also urged for the end to over regulation - an issue BEAMA has long supported. Government should ask why specific regulations are needed and strive for far fewer.
New BEAMA President comments
New BEAMA President, Alan Birks said: We welcome the content of Mark Prisks speech. Particularly, his pledge to give business greater certainty and political clarity and his recognition that business needs certainty and stability to effectively plan and grow. To simplify taxation and create a sense of direction."
We applaud too the chance to feed into the work strands Mr Prisk highlighted where he would like BEAMAs input. A trusted dialogue between government and industry is much welcomed.
BEAMA supports any government in its drive to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. But, there must always be simplicity in approach when incentivising take-up of technology. Our recent response to the Treasury on the detail of the Enhanced Capital Allowance sums up some of the problems and solutions of managing such a scheme.
Regarding achieving better regulation, Mr Birks said: Joined up government is important. As is for industry to avoid duplicate costs or paralysis from departments not speaking with each other. Especially, as our industry is embarking on change not seen for many years an electrical revolution."
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Get it right and everybody wins. Thats why its at the heart of BEAMAs work through the Smart Housing Association and our important role within the Smart Electricity Networks Steering Committee."
We will work with government, regulators, energy suppliers and members to make sure we have a practical approach to the challenge. So that our members fully embrace the smart revolution and are at the vanguard of that change.
BEAMAs Low Carbon Solutions Steering Committee (LCSCC)
At the event, BEAMAs Colin Timmins, who is a member of its Low Carbon Solutions Steering Committee (LCSCC) commented:
Since our Climate Change White Papers publication, BEAMA members have documented low carbon solutions they can deliver, but which are not being applied to their full potential. These represent a significant missed opportunity in the UKs efforts to hit its carbon reduction targets."
The UK is committed to the transition to a low carbon economy, but there are enormous technical challenges from smart meter installation in all UK homes by 2020, the proposed transformation to a smart grid, integration and interoperability of low carbon technologies to infrastructure for electric transport."
The BEAMA Climate Change White paper set out what needs to be done and the specially created LCSCC has provided the framework to make things happen. For instance, ensuring a focus across BEAMA on the long-term strategic implications and opportunities from a low carbon economy, engagement with Government to overcome barriers to the low carbon solutions our members offer, and cross-industry views on strategic and infrastructural challenges to help policy makers and industry address these challenges.
Colin Timmins said that many initiatives are underway. The LCSS has held meetings with BIS, DECC, Defra, CLG , the Treasury, MPs and shadow ministerial teams. In addition, evidence has been presented to the ECC Select Committee enquiry concerning low carbon technologies for a green economy.
The LCSS has coordinated exemplars from BEAMA members products. The focus is on available technologies with significant carbon saving potential, but which due to market and infrastructural barriers represent missed opportunities for carbon savings - to date 11 MtCO2/per annum ie a significant 2% of UK emissions.
Identifying current barriers and proposed solutions, presently the exemplars include: heating controls for residential buildings, heating system cleaning/protection, lighting controls for residential/commercial buildings, power factor correction, distribution transformers.
Communicating better awareness of opportunities to save carbon, enhanced calculation tools for building energy performance and a coherent regulatory framework are common themes in addressing barriers, continued Mr Timmins.