Industry to apply for judicial review of consequential improvements decision

The Association for the Conservation of Energy has formally told Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that it will apply for judicial review of his December 13 statement ruling out implementing any ‘consequential improvements’ requirements for smaller buildings.

Industry to apply for judicial review of consequential improvements decision

A judicial review is appropriate if a Minister is known to have acted irrationally, disregarding facts placed before them in a consultation which they initiated. This is particularly so if they fail to explain why they have opted to reject the weight of evidence before them.

Having taken advice from Leading Counsel, the Association is confident that Pickles’ statement fulfills that description.

Last January a public consultation proposed that, when households erect extensions or convert garages, around 10% further of that cost should be spent on improving the energy efficiency of the original building.

This followed the logic that, however high the efficiency levels of the new part, the overall energy consumption at the address in question will increase. The proposal simply extended existing requirements in place for larger buildings to those below 1000 sq m.

However, following much furore in the mainstream press, most notably ythe Daily Mail, which referred to it as a “conservatry tax”, in December, Pickles pronounced. “Having considered all the representations and evidence, including the public reaction, I can inform the House that we will not be going ahead with such regulatory proposals in any way.”

ACE director Andrew Warren said: “There is no explanation whatsoever for Mr. Pickles’ change of heart. Apart from his formal statement on December 13, we cannot tell why he has decided to reject a scheme, which, less than a year earlier, he was recommending so strongly. Even though he had demonstrated it to be good for the economy .Good for the environment .Good for the Green Deal. Essentially, good governance.

“His decision is too perverse to remain unchallenged. It is, put bluntly, appalling governance.”

Should Pickles not withdraw his statement of December 13, the application for judicial review will proceed.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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