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Judicial review of “consequential improvements” decision fails

Today in the High Court Mr Justice Nichol ruled that we cannot judicially review the decision by Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary, not to proceed with his proposal that homes which are expanded should make energy improvements to the existing building (“consequential improvements”). He ruled that a government minister is entitled to make any policy decision he considers appropriate, provided he has “genuinely considered” representations made during the consultation. He said that it was not relevant that 82 per cent of those responding had endorsed his original proposal. There were a minority who had rejected the idea, and he was entitled to rule in their favour.

The judge ruled that Ministers are entitled to change their minds. Apparently this was the first time any organisation had ever sought to challenge through the courts why a government proposal had not gone ahead, a challenge that the judge accepted as legitimate.

We are very disappointed that as a result the £11bn worth of extra construction activity which Mr Pickles’s department originally identified as likely to be delivered by consequential improvements will not now be realised. Nor will the 130 million tonnes of CO2 lifetime savings be delivered. Nor will we see the extra 2.2 million Green Deals he forecast it would deliver.

CLG’s costs have been awarded against this Association.

I am very grateful to the hundreds of people who have approached us in support of our initiative. I am sorry we have not proved able to challenge this most perverse of all decisions successfully.

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