Switch2 Blog

Article 50: The clock is ticking for Brexit

Posted by Ian Allan on 23-Mar-2017 14:06:35

It was announced that 29th March will see Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon formally triggered by the UK. Meaning that the UK should officially leave the EU no later than April 2019. But how will this affect the housing market and the Heat Network Regulations?  

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The uncertainty of the next few years for Great Britain and the European Union’s (EU) relationship has the world on tenterhooks. However, it goes without saying that development in infrastructure, education and technologies will still be needed to ensure the future prosperity and investment into the UK, so how do we see Article 50 shaping our industry’s future?

 

Heat networks and Brexit

In our previous blog, Brexit and the implications on the heat network regulations we highlighted that; heat (and cooling) networks are a global solution to decarbonise heat, and regardless of whether we are in or out of the EU - the UK will need to abide by the Paris Agreement Act Climate Change Act. Therefore heat networks will remain a key solution for the government in the efforts to decarbonise heat in the UK. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, in her speech on 17th January stressed that the outcome of leaving the EU will be that Britain will become a ‘Global Britain.’ Meaning that we are open for business, and will continue to innovate and develop our country after Brexit and throughout.

 

Will the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations be enforced after Brexit?

The Heat Network Regulations will be enforced after Brexit. We say this for two reasons:

  1. The Paris Agreement - A global action plan to put the world on track to avoid global warming, and heat networks are an important solution to decarbonise heat.
  2. As of 17th January, Mrs May confirmed that the UK will convert the EU ‘acquis’ (the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of European Union Law) into British law.

In this respect, thankfully, the muddy waters of Brexit were cleared, and Theresa May was crystal clear that UK law will adopt European laws, with British Parliament to decide upon any changes thereafter. This means that the heat network regulations are here to stay, and need to be abided by. Our latest updates to the Heat Network Regulations eGuide will advise how you need to abide by them, and give you guidance on doing it.

 

It’s all good news but what are the negatives Brexit has for heat networks?

Well, sadly we cannot see into the future and are definitely not politicians! But we do know that the pound’s value has been on a rollercoaster since the referendum. And this could potentially impact many projects across the UK, with the cost of import of goods increasing or decreasing. But, here’s food for thought - leaving the single market and customs union, could stimulate a home grown district heating supply chain? We would love to hear what you think on this!

 

What about the housing market?

The Housing White Paper highlighted that the UK housing supply and demand is ‘broken’. And that there is a major call for more homes to be built quickly and efficiently. With the extra spotlight now upon the housing market, we feel that this will not lose momentum once Brexit is underway, as it could help stimulate additional investment to the Country, but also help provide new jobs, homes and business opportunities to UK citizens.

 

Key takeaways

  • The Heat Network Regulations are here to stay, so heat suppliers need to understand them and abide by them – Read our eGuide
  • The newly launched Brexit 12 objectives are pro-business for the UK so expect growth in heat networks
  • Heat networks are one of the most significant answers to decarbonising heat, and providing a more cost effective way to heat inner city and off-grid buildings than electricity

 Your Ultimate Guide to Community Heating

 

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Ian Allan

Head of R&D at Switch2