Small store owners could soon be forced to prove that their stores are energy efficient as part of an EU drive to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The Energy Performance Buildings Directive came into force at the beginning of the year for stores above 10,763sq ft (1,000sq m). It stipulates that an owner, prospective buyer or tenant must get an energy performance certificate when their building is constructed, sold or rented out, and must improve energy efficiency.

The European Commission is now consulting on plans to widen the scope of the directive to small buildings under 1,000sq m and should publish proposals this summer.

However, retail groups fear that this could be tough on c-store owners. Association of Convenience Stores public affairs manager James Lowman vowed to oppose any measures that would undermine a c-store’s profitability.

Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium called on the government to help retailers by publishing full details.