95 Percent of Firms Meet UK's Carbon Reduction Commitment Deadline

More than 90 percent of firms have met the first reporting deadline imposed by the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme, providing detailed data on their carbon footprint to the Environment Agency.

According to figures released yesterday by the watchdog, 4,295 reports were lodged with the agency ahead of last month's deadline, out of an anticipated 4,549 organizations that are thought to face CRC reporting obligations.

The result means that around 95 percent of the companies and public sector bodies required to file official CRC carbon reports have met the first reporting deadline.

The Environment Agency said that the reports cover over 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to more than 10 percent of the U.K.'s total carbon footprint.

The high level of compliance was arguably greater than had been anticipated given earlier reports that large numbers of organizations were either unaware of the new rules or ill-prepared to report on their carbon emissions.

"This is a new scheme for the UK, so we are pleased that the vast majority of organizations required to submit a report have done so by the deadline," said Tony Grayling, head of climate change and communities at the Environment Agency, in a statement.

He added that the high level of compliance meant the agency was now well positioned to produce the first public CRC league table in the autumn, which will rank companies based on their energy efficiency performance.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency told BusinessGreen that those organizations that failed to lodge an official report detailing their energy use and carbon emissions ahead of the deadline would be called on to comply with the rules as soon as possible or risk potential fines.

"We have sent warning letters to non-compliant participants that they have failed to comply with the reporting deadline and civil penalties may apply," she said. "We will keep under review and may decide to impose these penalties if they remain in breach of the CRC Order."

The CRC remains highly controversial, with a number of business groups, including the CBI, leading calls for the government to reverse its decision to scrap the original revenue recycling element of the scheme, which was axed last autumn effectively turning the scheme into a carbon tax.

Meanwhile, some green groups have also criticised the scheme's complexity, arguing that a simple carbon tax would represent a less onerous means of driving investment in energy efficiency.

The government and the Environment Agency are currently seeking feedback on the costs of complying with the CRC with a view to simplifying the scheme, and are inviting participants to provide information on their experiences through an online survey.

The deadline for registering responses to the survey is the end of August.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen and is reprinted with permission.

Photo CC-licensed by problemkind.