Consequential Improvements Debacle

The news announced today that No. 10 is effectively intervening in policy prepared by DCLG on Building Regulations is dismaying. This intervention has been prompted by misinformation coming from the tabloids that has worried No.10 sufficiently to intervene. Government clearly fears that a policy that is likely to cause concern among its voters cannot be allowed to stand, whether the voters concerns are rational or not.

This is no way to lead, or govern. There are lots of highly paid officials in DECC, managed by highly paid ministers, that have produced these proposals and consulted on them. The due process should be followed and allowed to stand. This is independent of the merit of the proposals themselves.

On the subject of the proposals themselves there is nothing that can worry a rational reader in them. If a person extends a home, then additional works can be triggered to the main home, which will incur no additional costs to the homeowner. The Green Deal will fund the additional works and the works will save at least as much money as they cost, otherwise there is no obligation on the homeowner to carry them out.

This is a sound policy, new homes are destined to become zero carbon after 2016, the Green Deal will shortly be in place to allow the refurbishment of our leaky existing stock and save us all a lot of money. Extensions are a missing element, a gap that needs to be plugged in our low carbon built environment legislation. This legislation would have plugged it in part.

Our Government appears to be losing its nerve on environmental legislation. I fear for the Green Deal, which is a much more difficult piece of legislation, much more intrusive and much more difficult to sell than the ‘consequential improvements’



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