Why it’s important to submit
Article written by James Higgins, published originally in the February edition of H&V News Magazine.
Those following either this monthly column, or changes in Government and regulation will be aware that one of the biggest changes to the heating industry in years will take place in April this year with the introduction of Boiler Plus.
Despite the top billing, It seems to me that the industry will find a way to ensure the new requirements of Boiler Plus feel like business as usual by the time of their introduction in April 2018. Conversely, the very ease of which Boiler Plus may be adopted is likely to strengthen calls for further change, running counter to the arguments of some who argued it ‘’will all be too difficult’’. I am looking forward to seeing how the sector responds in the coming months.
Despite the excitement over Boiler Plus, most of my time during the weeks prior to and immediately following the festive break has been spent working with colleagues and partners on ‘’submissions’’ to Government consultations and innovation funding competitions. Those who followed the Clean Growth Strategy announcements will be aware they included a number of calls for evidence and consultations on a range of areas. Devolved nations and regions have also been getting in on that act, meaning that the industry is currently or has recently been asked for:
- Views on the Mayor of London’s Draft London Plan
- Views on the BEIS Clean Growth Strategy
- Responses to a call for evidence on Able to Pay Energy Efficiency
- A consultation from the National Infrastructure Commission on Congestion, Capacity and Carbon – priorities for national infrastructure
- Consultations on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Programmes by the Scottish Government
- Consultation on Minimum Levels of Energy Efficiency for the Private Rented Sector
Responding to all of this is time consuming and is it worthwhile you may ask? My view is that major policy and regulatory changes benefit significantly from exposure to views from the commercial world, even if it sometimes feels after the event as if these views have not been taken sufficiently into account. Ensuring your voice is heard can be challenging and it makes sense to accompany any response with efforts to understand the perspective and connect with other stakeholders in the process, including politicians and government officials themselves.
Those that do get involved in a structured way (as so many did with Boiler Plus) often have a positive experience and can point at least to a new understanding, if not success in shaping the direction of Government policy. Accordingly, it shouldn’t always be left to a trade association or lobbying group to respond. Officials (for the most part) do value and welcome individual or company submissions and for those who don’t want to write, there are often stakeholder events or meetings which can be attended to provide feedback.
Lastly, I would like to pay a special mention to the Heating Engineer who helped me out a few weeks ago when my boiler broke down just prior to the largest snowfall in years. Not only did he drive out at just an hour’s notice on a Saturday evening, he also ended up driving through treacherous conditions on Sunday to fit a replacement part to get the heating back on. I can tell you that sitting in a cold house watching the snow fall provided a timely reminder of the value of heating, this sectors’ ability to rapidly meet the customer need (availability of parts, speed of response) and the importance of the hard working people out there every day making it all happen.
Link to original article http://digitalissues.hvnplus.co.uk/2018/Feb/index.html