Clearview North Feb 2013 - Issue 135 - Page 67

ENERGYEFFICIENCY LETWIN OPPOSES EC PLAN TO UP VAT ON ENERGY EFFICIENT PRODUCTS Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin has formally opposed the European Commission’s plan to force the UK to increase the rate of VAT for energy efficiency products. Many energy efficiency products in the UK are currently charged at a lower VAT rate of 5%, but the EC told the UK Government that this lower rate contravenes EU law and the 20% rule should apply. The change would add significant costs to retrofit projects under the Green Deal scheme, which industry organisations fear could undermine the scheme from the outset. In December, The Times reported that Letwin had written to the European Commission formally ruling out any change in policy, paving the way for a potential court battle between the UK and EU in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In October the Commission published a consultation that appeared to endorse principles behind the UK’s current VAT system - hinting at a possible climbdown in its position regarding the UK’s lower VAT rates. Last August the Minister was urged to oppose the VAT changes in a letter signed by the heads of 18 industry organisations including Federation of Master Builders’ chief executive Brian Berry. CLADDING CHOICE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME Freefoam Building Products is delighted to report that the Fortex Cladding product is offering considerable benefits to those who want to improve the energy efficiency of their home. Experienced property developer Mr Vic Drake recently used the Fortex Weatherboard in Pale Gold to create a stunning thermally efficient home. Located near Sevenoaks in Kent the property is situated within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The land was previously occupied by a one bedroom bungalow on a steep sloping site offering Mr Drake the opportunity to create his first completely new build property. One of the main aims was to construct a highly energy efficient home with the need to include substantial insulation as part of the design a key driver. With other older properties in the area featuring external weatherboard cladding Mr Drake looked at different cladding systems that would enable him to create a sealed envelope to enhance the 200mm insulation of the SIP constructed building. Mr Drake chose the Freefoam Fortex product and explained his reasons “We found that the Freefoam Fortex range was the best option for us. We like the commitment Freefoam has shown to Environmental Management with the ISO14001 certification, and the product gave us the ability to include insulation materials beneath the external la yer enabling us to create a highly thermally efficient home. The long-term durability of the product, its compatibility with insulation products, it’s easy, fast and light to fixing properties and the added advantage of no on-going maintenance. Additionally our planning department were also very happy with the embossed wood effect finish – it’s both aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with other local traditional properties.” Colin St John Freefoam UK General Manager commented, “This example shows just how well the Fortex range performs. It works perfectly when fitted with insulation components, is easy to install and needs minimal maintenance making it an ideal solution for both self-builders and those undertaking renovation to create an energy efficient home” For further information on Freefoam products please contact us on +44(0)1604 591110 or email us at Alternatively visit our website at To read more, visit FEB 2013 67