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The ESOS compliance date of 5 December 2015 is fast approaching. The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed this deadline cannot be changed, which may leave organisations concerned about not being compliant in time.

The EA has recently announced that whilst they cannot extend the deadline, the regulators are able to use their discretion to waive or modify enforcement action and penalties for non-compliance.

Jo Scully, ESOS Manager for the EA says: “We acknowledge that not everyone will comply by the deadline. We want to bring people into compliance and normally we aim to use civil penalties only in the most serious cases.

Where an organisation has done something rather than nothing before the deadline then this is obviously going to be more favourable to their case when we are reviewing it. We would recommend that organisations do as much as they can before the deadline even if they know they will not be in a position to comply fully by 5 December.”

To support this, and in recognition of the enormity of the task to comply by the 5 December deadline, the EA have now published their enforcement approach on how they intend to apply penalties for the first compliance period. This includes:

  • for an organisation choosing ESOS audits as their route to compliance, the intention is to not normally take enforcement action for late notification provided it is received by 29 January 2016
  • for organisations choosing accredited ISO 50001 certification as their route to compliance, the intention is to give organisations until 30 June 2016 to achieve certification
  • bringing bodies into compliance using enforcement notices where necessary (normally allowing up to 3 months for organisations to remedy the outstanding compliance actions), serving civil penalties only in the most serious cases

Although this now provides additional time to achieve compliance, organisations that will not be fully compliant by the deadline and will make a late notification are still expected to keep records in their evidence pack of their efforts towards ESOS compliance (including the appointment of an ESOS approved lead assessor). They will also need to inform the EA of this by 5 December via an online portal, giving information on why they have been unable to comply and when submission of the notification of compliance is expected.

Terry Coyle, Product Manager for ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems) reflects “When ESOS was originally announced it was clear it came with a “comply or explain” policy. This latest clarification from the EA shows their support for this policy and understanding of stakeholder concerns. This is good news for organisations that are struggling to meet the December deadline and now provides some breathing room to work on a suitable and beneficial route to compliance and provides peace of mind knowing exactly how enforcement will be approached.”

SGS can support your ESOS compliance, with a variety of options:

  • ESOS Energy Audits
  • UKAS accredited ISO 50001 EnMS, including Gap analysis and training
  • ESOS Lead Assessors
  • DECs

Speak to one of our experts today about ESOS via uk.nowisthetime@sgs.com