The climate change levy could add £80m a year to the costs of the UK construction products industry.

This was the conclusion of a poll of its members by the Construction Products Association (CPA). Respondents estimated that the levy would add an average 7% to the cost of their fuel.

Consequently, the CPA is calling on the government to change its policies on industry and the environment.

CPA policy development officer Rita Singh said: ‘We believe that reductions in emissions would be better achieved through the proposed emissions trading scheme and by encouraging end-users and clients to use more energy-efficient products, through the reduction in VAT on such products.’

She said companies’ costs would be further increased by investment in energy-saving technology, like combined heat and power plants.

Meanwhile, the Wood Panels Industries Federation (WPIF) has repeated its warning that the climate change levy could make UK board producers less competitive in Europe.

The WPIF has negotiated an 80% rebate for the board industry which includes producers like Kronospan, Nexfor, Egger and Sonae. However, Kronospan still estimates it will pay £1m this year (TTJ April 7/14).

WPIF director-general Alastair Kerr said that, although it is in the interests of companies to become more energy efficient, ‘we are concerned that the levy will make UK board manufacturers less competitive because it’s not applied equally across Europe’.

Mr Kerr suggested wood processors such as sawmills and joinery firms could be more affected as they are not eligible for the same rebate.