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Minister in drive for more smart thinking on energy

SPEAKING AT BEAMA’S ANNUAL EVENT AT LONDON’S Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy, emphasised the government’s commitment to delivering a low carbon economy, addressing climate change and ensuring energy security. Hendry commented that delivering the commitment represented a ‘major challenge’. He said with energy demand likely to double by 2050, and energy resources becoming harder to extract, often in less politically stable parts of the world, climate change commitments mean change is needed.

The minister suggested one answer is to transform Britain into a low carbon economy by using fewer fossil fuels more effi ciently, looking to alternative energy sources, and revolutionising housing, urban infrastructure and transport systems. Stating that government should set the strategy and regulatory framework, the minister said: ‘Businesses and householders must be encouraged to deploy additional low carbon electricity generation.’ He added that the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) has been improved to drive-up use of small-scale microgeneration in business premises, public sector buildings and the home. Wind, solar photovoltaic, anaerobic digestion, domestic-scale combined heat and power, plus hydro technologies could replace centrally generated electricity with that from the property itself. Describing smart metering as the policy ‘at the heart of these energy change programmes’, Hendry commented: ‘The government believes every home and business should

have smart energy metering. This is because smart meters are a vital element in the transition to a low carbon economy, ensuring an affordable, secure, sustainable energy supply.’ With the government’s environmental and energy goals presenting a considerable challenge, Hendry urged they were an opportunity too for BEAMA members, with the electrotechnical industry having a key role in delivering the technological solutions shaping how we supply and use electricity. He concluded: ‘In business terms, this transformational agenda is worth billions and provides a competitive edge in the global economy. The UK has the expertise to provide cheaper, cleaner, smarter technologies and the opportunity to lead the process.’

In brief

■ Balfour Beatty has acquired certain segments of Rok’s business in affordable housing and general construction for a consideration of £7m, of which £4m has been paid in cash. The balance of £3m will be paid as contracts transfer.

■ SES has announced the appointment of its former chief operating offi cer, Peter Lewis, as its new CEO.

BEAMA’s annual event: guest speaker Charles Hendry

MP, minister of state for energy (centre) in discussion with (left) Dr Howard Porter, BEAMA’s chief executive offi cer (CEO) and Alan Birks, BEAMA president (right)

FMB criticises decision to maintain CIL

The government’s decision to maintain the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) has been criticised by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Decentralisation minister, Greg Clark, has

confi rmed that the levy, which was introduced by the Labour administration in April 2010,

will be continued as he claimed it offers a fair system of funding new infrastructure projects. Clark said that the CIL will allow homes to be built under ‘genuine local control’ and will permit more amenities, such as parks, schools and roads, to be constructed.

Commenting on the move, FMB director

of external affairs, Brian Berry, pointed out that the Conservative Party pledged to scrap the CIL when it was in opposition. He said: ‘Quite why the government has now decided to adopt an approach they so roundly condemned in their own policy paper is very diffi cult to fathom.’

RICS survey sees construction stalling

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS)

Construction Market survey

found that 59 per cent of the group’s members saw no movement in construction workloads during the third

quarter of the year. Among the factors cited for the stall were continued concerns about the UK’s economic wellbeing and a lack of fi nance for new developments. RICS’ chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, commented: ‘Government data shows the construction sector has rebounded more strongly than many anticipated, but our latest survey casts considerable doubt on whether this

improvement can be sustained.’ He added that the expected falls in public sector funding for construction projects is likely to have further consequences for the industry. Recent fi gures from the Offi ce for National Statistics showed that the total volume of construction output increased by four per cent in 2010’s third quarter compared to the previous three months.

■ The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted Retro Future 2000 after the lives of up to 30 workers were put at risk at two new waterfront apartment blocks in Liverpool. Retro Future 2000 was found guilty of breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take measures to prevent workers being injured in a fall. The company, of Oldham Road in Manchester, was fi ned £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,981.

■ MK Electric has revised its suite of components dedicated to meeting the demands of the healthcare sector, delivering the highest standards of hygiene, safety and security. The portfolio includes anti-bacterial cable management, switches and sockets; isolated power supply (IPS) sockets and surge-protected devices and accessories dedicated for those with disabilities.

Hager has appointed Bruce Davies as its new managing director for the UK. Davies has been at Hager for seven years and in a former role was the company’s commercial director for three years.

Pilon, the building and refurbishment specialist, has launched a new department focusing on mechanical and electrical services.

Winter 2010 ECA Today 7


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