A ban on patio heaters could soon be in place as European politicians push for a clampdown on energy devouring equipment.
Pubs have warned the move could be disastrous for trade with some industry sources estimating profits could be cut by £250million nationally.
Patio heaters were picked out for particular criticism in a report by North East MEP Fiona Hall titled Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential. The report also proposed a whole range of additional energy saving measures including the establishment of minimum performance standards for boilers and air conditioning systems.
She said: 'We talk of the need to combat climate change with renewables, but we should never lose sight of the fact that energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
'With 40 per cent of the energy we consume being used in buildings, it is vital that the measures I have recommended are put in place as soon as possible.'
The report is an 'own initiative' report by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and has no legal force. But, the discussion paper puts further pressure on the European Commission for more action to tackle climate change.
The 36-page report being voted on today (Thursday) called on countries to implement energy efficiency laws properly and criticised European Union members for failing to put into action new rules on the energy performance of buildings.
But, some have criticised the emphasis on patio heaters. Dr Eric Johnson, national expert reviewer for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and managing director of Atlantic Consulting, said: 'The overall impact of outdoor heaters on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions is very minimal, and once you look at the domestic models used in homes, the impact is almost non-existent.
'Once comparisons start with well-known offenders such as aeroplanes, outdoor heaters dwarf in comparison. In actual fact, plasma TVs produce far more carbon dioxide than patio heaters when you compare normal usage patterns for each appliance.
'What constitutes a waste of energy is always going to be open to debate but it is important that the public is properly educated about environmental impacts in order to make informed decisions on their everyday activities.'
Read the report