16 Apr 2012

The Green Conservatory Tax: Part 2

It's been an interesting few days since the Daily Mail "broke" the story of the "Green Conservatory Tax" a week ago. The right wing press has laid into the story with predictable glee, having discovered yet another front on which to wage war with the green conspiracy.

The Green Deal has also come under fire and the Telegraph in particular is keen to promote the idea that there is now a split between the Tories and the LibDems over this.

Is there really a split? The Telegraph fingers Pickles, Shapps and Grayling as members of the anti-red tape Osborne growth group. The problem with this is that whilst consequential improvements might be seen as classic red-tape, they are also pro-growth. And the policy itself arises from a building regs consultation exercise, emanating from the DCLG, home to both Pickles and Shapps. Can these ministers have only just come across the whole issue of consequential improvements? I think not.

Unlike the press themselves. The Mail's follow up story on the Green Conservatory Tax, linked here, clearly shows a conservatory that would be exempt from consequential improvements. Look closely at the back and you can see an open leaf of a pair of French Doors, indicating that here you have a conservatory built outside the heated envelope, and thus not effected by Part L.

Far from being a "tax on aspiration", it's a policy designed to deal something about high heating bills. Informal polling of dozens of selfbuilders at the Homebuilding & Renovating show two weeks ago convinces me that low heating bills are now rather more of a middle class aspiration than conservatories.

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