Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Fuel Poverty Judicial Review


In April 2008 Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged presented a legal case against the UK Government for failing to meet its legal requirements to eradicate fuel poverty under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000.

Dr Brenda Boardman was invited to make the witness statement to assist the Court to understand the key issues relating to fuel poverty and to explain the way in which Government policies (past and present) have affected levels of fuel poverty in England over the past seven years since the Act.

The key conclusions from her statement include:

  • The Government’s current and stated future policies in relation to fuel poverty are not sufficient to meet either its 2010 Target or its 2016 Target. There are a number of reasons why that is so including reasons that have repeatedly been drawn to the Government’s attention by its own expert advisory group.
  • The Government is not currently doing everything that it could reasonably do to meet those targets. There are a wide range of measures that it could have taken, and could still take, that would have significant beneficial effects on the numbers of households in fuel poverty but which it has chosen not to take.
  • The Government has not published sufficient details of its thinking to explain why it has not taken other available measures and why it has decided that it is not able to meet its targets. In particular, the Government has not published a plan setting out how it intends to meet its targets, what it would cost to do so and putting the necessary package of measures in place.
  • The Government’s decision to cut funding for its principal fuel poverty programme (Warm Front) will reduce further its prospects of meeting its targets.
  • The Government would need to spend considerably more than it is currently spending on energy efficiency measures if it is to meet either of the above targets.

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