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Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent councils to enforce energy standards 

ENFORCEMENT action on the energy efficiency of local government buildings in Blaenau Gwent will be conducted from now on by Torfaen council staff.

The agreement will also see Blaenau Gwent staff carry out enforcement action on Torfaen council buildings if needed.

But a senior Blaenau Gwent officer told councillors that he didn’t expect the agreement would need to be enforced.

At a special meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, May 3, councillors looked at the reciprocal arrangements for the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, in relation to local authority-owned buildings in Blaenau Gwent and its neighbour local authority, Torfaen.

Deputy council leader and environment portfolio holder, Cllr Helen Cunningham said: “Legislation introduced in 2008 gave Trading Standards a duty to enforce the requirements of the regulations in their areas.

“Since then, it’s been amended many times and there’s a requirement in place that local authority owned or controlled buildings should be transferred to another local authorities Trading Standards team.”

Cllr Helen Cunningham

Cabinet member for social services, Cllr Haydn Trollope asked if the agreement would be publicised on the council’s website.

Cllr Trollope believed this is needed in case a prominent building is closed and members of the public need to “know what’s happening” and why it’s being done by staff from Torfaen.

Cllr Trollope said: “This would be beneficial.”

Trading standards and licensing team manager, Steve Osborne said: “We don’t really anticipate the need for this to be actually used in practice.

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“It’s a legal requirement.

“We would hope there is never a need for officers from another authority to come in because we would hope to be able to resolve any non-compliance ourselves and there would be no need for enforcement action.”

Mr Osborne said that putting an explainer on the council’s website of the regulations was not “deemed necessary” at this stage.

The report explains that the “principle” for the regulations is to make the energy efficiency of buildings transparent.

It is also supposed to inform occupiers and users about their buildings or systems current energy performance and make recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency.

The agreement covers council buildings that have a total floor space of over 250 square metres and the UK Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities need to be informed of the enforcement arrangements.

Councillors unanimously approved the report.