100225 CRC the new Tax

article written for RICS Commercial Property Journal


The full name of the CRC is the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.  This monolithic bureaucratic structure, conceived originally as a carrot and stick mechanism to promote better behaviours and greater energy efficiency, is a monumentally inefficient means of taxing owners of properties and/or businesses in occupation.

But wait! Do we not already have a tax on ownership or occupation of commercial properties?  Do we not also have other measures built in to the transaction process to measure buildings (EPCs)?  What about the Climate Change Levy already imposed on fuel bills?  Surely there must be a more efficient way of levying a tax on the emissions of CO2.

The key concept of CRC is that it is meant to drive better behaviour through the potential adverse impact on corporate reputation if businesses failed to improve relative to their competition or their customers’ expectations.

This concept is a noble one and it has more than half of its merits founded in good economic principles.  For example, the intangible value of a brand is (simplistically) the surplus of share price after capitalising net assets.  For some brands this can be a very large number and anything that put reputation at risk would be aggressively managed by the company’s board.

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100207 Pot Holes

Letter to Surrey Advertiser


A regular feature over many years in your letters page is the frustration of residents about our roads.  I have written previously (and had Guildford’s MP, Anne Milton’s support) to highlight that this problem has a long-term cause.

Most potholes come about as a result of service trenches dug through the road’s covering and substructure (Hedgeway and Old Palace Road provide good examples).  This is rarely reinstated as it should be (often using the wrong materials, poor bonding and inadequate finishing).  Water gets through the gaps at the edges and, when the frosts come, it freezes and ‘blows’ the material out of the hole when traffic inevitably passes over it – vibration and pressure combining to break down the fill.

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