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Challenge to ‘conservatory tax’ fails

An attempt to seek a judicial review of the government’s controversial decision to scrap consequential improvements has failed

Back in December 2012, the government abolished plans to force homeowners building a conservatory or extension to make improvements to their existing property.

The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) announced they would be challenging the government’s decision a month later (January 2013). But its challenge has been thwarted in the High Court, after a judge ruled the government would not face a judicial review.

The judge ruled government ministers were entitled to make policy decisions as they see fit provided consultation responses had been ‘genuinely considered’. He said that it was not relevant that 82 per cent of those responding to the government’s consultation had endorsed the original proposals for improvements.

Andrew Warren, director of the ACE  said the association was ‘disappointed’ by the result.

He added: ‘As a result the £11 billion worth of extra construction activity which DCLG 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’.

The government u-turn on consequential improvements was widely criticised by green groups warning that it could impact negatively on the government’s energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal.

The consequential improvements measures, which had been dubbed a ‘conservatory tax’ meant that work on one part of a home would trigger a duty to carry out energy efficiency improvement works throughout.

John Alker of the UK Green Building Council commented: ‘This is really disappointing. Consequential Improvements are an absolute no brainer and should be introduced immediately.’

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