Andrew Brons has received an answer to his first tabled Parliamentary question to the European Parliament.
At the beginning of August he asked for clarification concerning the Energy Using Products directive in response to a request from one of his North Yorkshire constituents.
"Is the Commission aware that:
1.1 million homes in the United Kingdom are heated by oil-fired boilers and that the directive will prevent UK homeowners from buying replacement boilers from 2013 onwards?
Most of these homes are not connected to the gas mains and cannot easily be connected?
The new-style boilers emitting low levels of NOx are too large to fit into the average kitchen?
Homes in the UK need to fit central-heating boilers in their kitchens because most homes do not have suitable cellars or outhouses in which to put them?
Would the Commission consider granting the United Kingdom a five-year derogation from the directive, so that it would not take effect until 2018? This would enable the boiler-manufacturing industry to develop new technology to produce smaller, low NOx emissions boilers that would fit into an average kitchen.
This was the answer given by EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs on the 14th September 2009:
E-3978/09EN: Under the ecodesign for energy using products Directive a technical, environmental and economic analysis (îpreparatory studyî) on boilers was carried out, and, amongst others, NOx emissions were identified as a significant environmental aspect.
The Commission is currently in the consultation and preparation phase of the relevant Eco-design measure, and will only later table a draft measure on this issue. After a vote in the competent Committee, this measure will then go to the Council and the Parliament for scrutiny before the final adoption by the Commission.
The Commission is well aware of the particular conditions of using/installing boilers in the United Kingdom. Possible ecodesign requirements on NOx emissions (and further significant environmental aspects) will consider the effects on the UK replacement market, the energy supply infrastructure and the usage conditions, with a view to fulfil the provisions of the Ecodesign Directive, and in particular its Article 15 which requires i.a. that ecodesign implementing measures shall not have a negative impact on the functionality of the product and on the affordability for the consumer.
The levels of NOx emissions and the timetable of a possible entry into force are currently discussed with all stakeholders (including industry as well as consumer and environmental organisations) and Member States in the context of the Ecodesign Consultation Forum. As required by Article 15 of the Ecodesign Directive, levels and timing will take into account the impacts on manufacturers, e.g. the possible need for re-design of products and possible associated costs, including on UK manufacturers of oil and kerosene boilers, in particular SMEs.