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Case update 15 April 2024

High Court gives green light for green homes challenge

Michael Gove’s new rules are blocking local authorities from building homes fit for the future. We’re heading to the High Court to demand housing that tackles fuel poverty and the climate crisis. 

Michael Gove will have to defend his policy on building new homes in court, after Good Law Project reached the next stage of our legal campaign with Rights Community Action. The High Court will hear our argument that Gove’s massive overreach of central government power is unlawful.

Gove says he wants to empower communities, but the guidance his department issued on 13 December says that proposals for local energy efficiency standards that improve on current or planned building regulation “should be rejected” unless they meet checks defined by central government.  

More than 4000 of our supporters have already taken action, writing to Michael Gove to challenge the decision. Local authorities and campaigners branded the policy “unnecessarily draconian” (PDF), describing how innovative work in local communities to deliver net zero homes and reduce energy costs is now being “threatened” by the new rules. 

Make your voice heard and help us unlock the next generation of green homesWrite to Michael Gove

According to Good Law Project’s executive director, Jo Maugham, it’s hard to believe that many homes built today “will need to be fitted with extra insulation”.

“This will be costly, wasteful and an enormous headache for homeowners,” he said.

Gove’s policy will discourage building homes to a higher standard, he continued. “This will be beneficial in the short term for the huge housebuilders and developers that fund the Conservative Party – and terrible for everyone else. We think it’s time to say ‘enough’.”

“This is a policy disaster,” said Naomi Luhede-Thompson, CEO at Rights Community Action. “We know that councils in England want to plan for warm homes that are affordable to heat, but their plans are being crushed by Michael Gove,” she continued.

“It’s homeowners of new properties who will pay the price again and again for this huge mistake.”

With families facing both a climate emergency and a cost of living crisis, we need a government that will stand up for the highest standards on energy efficiency, not water them down.

Local communities must be given back the power to make sure homes are fit for the future.

  • Good Law Project can only protect the environment with your help. Anything you can give to support our work will help us make positive change.