March 27, 2012 / 4:35 PM / 6 years ago

UK delays decision on mandatory emissions reporting

* Decision expected within next few months

* Indecision creates uncertainty for businesses

* All options still under review

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s government on Tuesday said it will miss an April 6 deadline to decide on whether companies should be forced to report their greenhouse gas emissions, as it needs more time to assess more than 2,000 replies to a public consultation.

But the delay creates more uncertainty for businesses, said non-governmental and business groups.

Under the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008, the government is required to propose regulation on emissions reporting from companies to help Britain achieve its climate objectives, or to explain to Parliament why no such regulation has been made.

A public consultation, held between May and July 2011, proposed four options - one voluntary and three mandatory - to promote more emissions reporting from companies. The government had set an April 6 deadline to report back to Parliament.

“A decision hasn’t been made,” said a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). “Our aim is to make a decision within the next few months,” he said, noting all options were still on the table.

Last year’s consultation drew a total of 2,018 written submissions, with many companies providing detailed information on estimated costs and benefits of voluntary versus mandatory emissions reporting.

Paul Simpson, chief executive of non-governmental organisation the Carbon Disclosure Project, said the delay in the decision of mandatory emissions reporting was both surprising and disappointing.

“By failing to make a concrete call, the UK government is not responding to market needs,” he said in a statement.

Rhian Kelly, director for business environment policy at leading UK business organisation CBI, called the delay “frustrating.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said while mandatory disclosure of emissions was broadly accepted, there was still some debate to be had about where companies should disclose the data.

“ICAEW has always argued against cramming ever more information into the annual report,” said Richard Spencer, head of sustainability at ICAEW.

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