Most Firms Comply With Carbon Reporting Deadline

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More than 90 percent of firms have met the first reporting deadline for the Carbon Reduction Commitment

The controversial Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme’s first reporting deadline has been met by 95 percent of companies, according to figures released yesterday.

Of the 4,549 organisations obliged to provide detailed information on their carbon footprint, 4,295 filed their reports before last month’s deadline, the Environment Agency said.

This accounts for more than 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions and more than 10 percent of the UK’s total carbon footprint.

By charging firms £12 per tonne of CO2 emitted, the scheme is designed to give companies an incentive to reduce their energy consumption. However, it is widely regarded as a stealth tax since the government scrapped the original proposal to recycle the money raised back into the system just weeks after companies signed up.

The figures reported will be used to compile the first CRC league table, due out this autumn, ranking organisations on performance and improvement.

Pleasing results

Tony Grayling, Head of Climate Change and Communities at the Environment Agency, said in a statement: “This is a new scheme for the UK, so we are pleased that the vast majority of organisations required to submit a report have done so by the deadline.”

The five percent of companies yet to report on their emissions may face a penalty of £5,000 and being named and shamed on the CRC website.

Persistent offenders could be fined up to £40,000 and have their emissions determined by the regulator and charged £40 per tonne of CO2.

A spokeswoman told eWEEK Europe UK: “Our priority is to bring participants into compliance.  We have sent warning letters to non-compliant participants that they have failed to comply with the reporting deadline and civil penalties may apply.”

Stealth tax claims

The CRC scheme has been criticised as being nothing more than a stealth tax on businesses, after the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010 included plans to keep the the money generated by rather than recycle it back into the system as originally planned.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) slammed the scheme as adding to the cost of business, branding it “untenable in its current form”. It also said it believed the scheme “lacks credibility and has lost businesses’ trust” and should be scrapped.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is currently running a survey on the administrative costs of CRC compliance, the deadline for which is 31 August.

Organisations must register for the scheme if they used at least 6,000 MWh (Mega Watt hours) of half-hourly electricity during 2008, equivalent to an annual electricity bill of about £500,000.

In 2012, organisations will begin being charged for their carbon output in fiscal year 2011/12.

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