Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, yesterday issued a statement saying that proposals for Consequential Improvements – which would have introduced a requirement on home owners to make improvements to the energy efficiency of their homes when carrying out extensions – have been scrapped.
How curious that in his statement Mr Pickles should entirely omit to refer to the following points – which were sent to Ministers in a briefing prepared by his Department in May (and reported by Energy in Buildings and Industry in October):
- 4 out of 5 people responding to his consultation specifically supported the concept of Consequential Improvements
- On the Government’s own figures, consequential improvements would have benefited the economy by over £11 billion
- 63 to 76% of homeowners who took part in Energy Saving Trust surveys felt that Consequential Improvements on extensions and conversions were ‘reasonable’ or ‘very reasonable’
- As a result of this decision, on Government’s own figures over 2 million fewer homes will take up the Green Deal, the very scheme which he claims to be relying upon to deliver home energy improvements
This decision is bad for the economy. It is bad for jobs. It is bad for the environment.
But it is an undoubted triumph for the Daily Mail, whose mendacious campaign (inventing the “conservatory tax”) seems to have led to this profoundly foolish and irrational volte face.
- Seven out of ten of homeowners asked (71%) think the energy efficiency of homes has a major impact on Britain’s carbon emissions
- Over three-quarters (77%) felt that “more should be done by government to help people make their homes more energy efficient”
- Half (50%) of respondents felt it was very reasonable that “when homeowners carry out substantial work on their property, they have to ensure that this work meets energy efficiency standards”. A further 41 per cent thought this was a fairly reasonable requirement
- Extending building regulations was felt to be reasonable by 63%, although this increased to 76% when the Green Deal could be used to finance the additional energy efficiency improvements
- A tiny 6% thought a consequential improvements policy would be ‘wholly unreasonable’
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