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Branson & Pickles

The Virgin tycoon is referring to Europe’s plans to block cheap solar panel imports from China.

From next week, solar panels from the region, where manufacturing costs are heavily subsidised by the Government, are likely to have a duty imposed on them of around 50%.  This is to help European producers who are unable to compete financially.  This will mean that the cost of solar thermal and solar PV installations across Europe is about to rise steeply.

The additional duties will make European produced panels more competitive in the marketplace.  But Branson has blogged to say we shouldn't be putting politics ahead of ‘the good of the planet’. He has also said that it’s a mistake to pressure China ‘in order to protect a few solar companies from Europe’.

Meanwhile, Eric Pickles has spoken out against the Welsh Assembly plans to make dwellings more energy efficient, because they’re doing it too quickly and making regulations too complex.

In his own words, Wales is ‘increasing the cumulative burden on regulation’, pointing to claims that their proposed changes to Part L could cost Welsh housebuilders an extra £20,000 per plot.

Pickles has said ‘The growing distance in relative building costs between England and Wales will place the Welsh at a competitive disadvantage, diverting housing investment away from Wales.’

Aside from Part L proposals the letter, published publicly on, also makes reference to plans to introduce compulsory sprinkler systems to all new homes in Wales, and additional regulations and red tape for developers, architects and builders.

The Secretary of State has quoted from Housebuilders Federations, the Federation of Master Builders and the Chairman of Redrow, all of which have raised concerns that the changes in Wales are too rapid and too extreme.

Have you got any thought on either Branson & Pickles comments from this week? Join the debate #EnergistUK.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 03.06.2013.