Following on from the announcement that Government plans to introduce a mandatory water efficiency label to inform consumers and encourage the purchase of more water-efficient products for both domestic and business use, the first details of what's in store are beginning to emerge, reveals BMA chief executive Tom Reynolds.
"Three months ago, Government announced plans for a mandatory water efficiency label, in an effort to achieve its 25-Year Environment Plan target to reduce personal water consumption to 110 litres per day by 2050.
"At BMA, we are in continuing dialogue with DEFRA officials to glean as much information on the upcoming consultation and timescales, and of course to represent member concerns and achieve the best result for the sector and the environment.
"Speaking at the time of the announcement, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the mandatory water label is being introduced to ‘inform consumers and encourage the purchase of more water efficient products for both domestic and business use.’ He also emphasised the potential to achieve energy and water savings in a way that minimises the impact on consumers.
"The announcement included plans to ‘develop a roadmap towards greater water efficiency in new developments and retrofits in 2022’.
"At a recent BMA Sustainability Forum, DEFRA official, Kimberley Alden-Parsons explained how Government views mandatory water efficiency labelling as part of a suite of measures to combine in delivering increased water efficiency. It is not the only tool to achieving sustainable water futures, but is a ‘highly anticipated one’. Consultation on water efficiency labelling will be undertaken in 2022, and the DEFRA timeline is to deliver the legislation for the label by 2024.
"Kimberley explained: 'At the moment, there are a couple of options being considered for the consultation on water efficiency labelling. It will be a joint consultation between DEFRA and BEIS as it will have great impact on the ability to achieve carbon neutral targets. It should also be a whole of the UK consultation. The agreed approach will be published and we are working towards the legislation for a label in 2024, with a lag period following that. The road map will consider which parts of the building regulations, particularly part G, and possibly part H which we will look to review.'
"I believe there is an appetite to understand the BMA member concerns and the impact mandatory labelling will have on the sector, and what lessons can be learnt from labelling schemes globally. We are in continued dialogue with DEFRA on these matters, and it is encouraging to see the channels of communication are open. In the months and years ahead, we want to give detailed feedback to guide and shape the outcome of this process.
“Water efficiency labelling is already embraced by the sector, under a voluntary scheme which has been in existence for many years – the Unified Water Label. It is tried and tested, and already backed by industry, providing an efficient and effective way for Government to ensure consumers are fully informed, and avoiding the confusion of double labelling.
“We are committed to working with Government on progressing the plans for the mandatory UK requirement.”