A new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regime for businesses in the UK

Publication April 2019


What has happened?

The UK's Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework was introduced April 1, 2019. This simplifies existing energy and carbon reporting policies while reducing the administrative burden imposed on companies. SECR replaces the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC Scheme).

Background

The SECR framework builds on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and the requirements in place since 2013 for UK-quoted companies to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It forms part of the government’s goal to improve energy efficiency by at least 20 per cent by 2030.

CRC Scheme closure

The CRC Scheme closed following the end of the 2018-2019 compliance year on March 31, 2019.

Key dates under the CRC Scheme include

  • From April 2019 – no requirement to purchase allowances for emissions
  • By the end of July 2019 – last reporting of emissions
  • By the end of October 2019 – surrender allowances for emissions
  • Until March 2025 – comply with certain record keeping requirements

The SECR framework replaces the previous reporting requirements under the CRC Scheme, while the Climate Change Levy will replace the tax element of that scheme.

Who is affected by SECR?

The organisations subject to the SECR framework are

UK-registered, large unquoted companies

This includes companies that meet at least two of the following criteria

  • At least 250 employees
  • Annual turnover greater than £35m
  • Annual balance sheet total greater than £18m

Such companies will be required to report on energy use and emissions relating to gas, electricity and transport and an intensity metric.

Quoted companies

Quoted companies will continue to be required to report their scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions (while scope 3 remains voluntary) and an intensity metric. They will also be required to start reporting, where practical, on their global total energy use.

Companies are also required to report on energy efficiency actions from the previous year.

The government estimates that around 11,900 companies will be reporting their energy and carbon emissions under SECR, compared to around 4,000 companies under the CRC Scheme.

Large Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

LLPs must also report annually on the same information as that required from large unquoted companies.

Reporting requirements

Companies will report in their annual reports, either in the directors’ report or equivalent section. LLPs must do so in an annual energy and carbon report.

Exemptions

The following exemptions are available

  • A statutory de minimis exemption for organisations where energy use is very low: 40,000kWh or less in the relevant 12-month period.
  • A “not practical” exemption, available where it is not practical for the company or LLP to obtain some or all of the information. A statement as to why that is the case must be provided.
  • A “seriously prejudicial” exemption for information considered to be seriously prejudicial to the interests of the company or LLP.
  • UK subsidiaries to which the SECR framework applies can be covered by a parent’s group report, although they may report individually on a voluntary basis.
  • Non-UK registered companies are not obliged to file annual reports at Companies House and so do not fall within the SECR framework, however any UK incorporated subsidiaries would need to report.

What next?

Organisations should review whether they fall within the SECR framework or if any of the exemptions apply.

It is important to analyse what data is already being collected and any further information that will need to be collated to comply with the new regime. Although this is likely to require additional expenditure, the government hopes that, in the longer term, the new framework will lead to a lower administrative burden on companies while encouraging continued reduction of GHG emissions.

For further information please contact Head of Safety and Environment Caroline May or Of Counsel Lucy Bruce Jones.


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