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Government U-turn: Consequential improvements plans scrapped

The government has abolished plans to force homeowners building a conservatory or extension to make improvements to their existing property

The consequential improvements measures meant that work on one part of a home would trigger a duty to carry out energy efficiency improvement works throughout.

In January, the DCLG produced a consultation asking for views on the proposals provoking widespread criticism and earning the label a ‘conservatory tax’.

However, citing research from the Energy Saving Trust, the government has now suggested that more than a third of households would be put off from carrying out home improvements if they had to undertake consequential improvements as well.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘Having consulted carefully, the government has noted the potential danger that introducing consequential improvements would, in fact, discourage people from undertaking home improvements.

‘This measure ensures that it will remain straightforward for hard-working homeowners to undertake small-scale home improvements and conservatories.’

However green groups have warned that these moves could mean a slower take up for the Green Deal.

Andrew Warren of the Association for the Conservation of Energy said: ‘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 they claim 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.’

John Alker, director of policy at the UK-GBC added: ‘This shows a complete lack of ambition from government and misses one of the key opportunities to give the Green Deal a much-needed boost. Getting cost-effective improvements through the Green Deal, at the same time as other building work, is a perfectly reasonable and sensible policy.’

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