SMMT representatives have given evidence to the House of Lords European Union Select Committee inquiry into a sustainable EU policy on climate change.

Head of communications, economics and policy, Paul Everitt, highlighted SMMT concerns about CO2 emission ceilings set in government’s national allocation plan, the UK’s implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme.

The allocations for the sector are far higher than in other EU states despite UK vehicle manufacturers improving energy efficiency by 17.5% since 1995. As UK facilities have already invested in the best available technology there is limited scope for further improvements.

Everitt said: “The industry is committed to meeting its environmental responsibilities and we have already made substantial progress in improving energy efficiency in our production facilities. The sector operates on an international stage and we must ensure that industry in the UK is not disadvantaged by over zealous implementation. It is essential that there is a level playing field across Europe and that early action by manufacturers to reduce emissions is not penalised.”

The committee heard evidence from SMMT members, many of which have invested millions of pounds in modern energy-efficient equipment, that now face more stringent emission limits than similar facilities elsewhere in Europe. They also heard that the EU emissions trading scheme will increase electricity costs, reducing the scope for further investment in energy-efficiency measures.

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The motor industry witnesses were Paul Everitt, head of communications, economics and policy, SMMT; Mike Hawes, head of corporate and government affairs, Toyota Motor Europe; Paul Roberts, senior manager, facilities, Honda of the UK Manufacturing; and Chris Rogers, head of corporate affairs, Honda Motor Europe.