Health, Safety & Environmental Compliance News
Huhne Hints at Future for Carbon Trust
Negotiations on future of Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust likely to continue for several more months.
Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne has given the clearest indication yet that the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust could survive the current round of government spending cuts, albeit in a significantly changed role.
Despite speculation that both agencies could be axed as part of the coalition's cuts programme, the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust's official position as independent companies backed by the government meant that they were not covered by the recent review of quangos or the Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review.
Speaking to BusinessGreen.com last week, Huhne said the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was continuing to negotiate with both agencies about their future. But he hinted strongly that while they could expect to face significant budget cuts, there is a good chance that they will survive in some format.
"One of the things we have to do is talk through with both of them about how we see their role in delivering on our agenda," Huhne said. "But there is quite a big part of our agenda where clearly the expertise that exists in the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust will be very important."
He cited the government's planned Green Deal domestic energy efficiency scheme as an example of an initiative that could benefit from the skills found in the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust, noting that the UK did not want to replicate Australia's green home makeover programme where poorly trained workers led to numerous tabloid horror stories about poor-quality work and badly damaged homes.
However, he admitted that whatever settlement is agreed, both agencies are likely to face significant cuts in their administrative budgets.
"We are committed to taking 33 per cent out of administration costs and that includes the Carbon Trust, the Energy Saving Trust and the broader department," he said. "We have to make sure that what emerges from that process is fit for purpose in delivering our key priorities."
He added that the negotiations about the future of the two agencies were likely to continue for the next few months with a view to a decision being finalised before the start of the financial year in April.