Wednesday 11 April 2012

'Conservatories Tax': Opening a New Affront

The Daily Mail is all over this one, Booker leading the charge: a 'conservatories tax' requiring people wishing to improve their properties - e.g. replacing a boiler - to upgrade their insulation at the same time. Might even be forced to borrow money under the 'Green Deal' to do it, too. The Committee on Climate Change is ecstatic and wants it to be beefed up with 'effective enforcement'.

We know where the green zealots in government got the idea: building regs have long since required the owners of public buildings, shops, offices etc to retrofit disabled access measures whenever they are next doing any refurbishments. And since Green Deal loans are supposed to be self-financing through energy savings, I suppose the zealots can persuade themselves they are not imposing unduly on the ordinary citizens this new wheeze will apply to.

Even under their own lights they will have to confront the awkward fact that Green Deal is horribly flawed (repayments are based on estimated, rather than actual energy savings, leaving considerable scope for cowboy salesmen - and now Climate Change enforcers - to saddle people with uneconomic 'investments'). But that's to engage them on their own terms.

The more fundamental issue should be obvious: someone wants to replace their old boiler, with their own money. This will, of course, be an energy-saving measure in its own right. Where is the logic, let alone the morality, in saying: you can't carry out the energy saving investment of your own choice unless you do one I force on you too ?

Anything better designed to affront the middle classes is hard to imagine - though we can be sure there are people hard at work on this very task. The coalition is becoming a beleaguered government and it deserves it.



Electro-Kevin said...

I'm loving it.

All my upgrades have been done.

The Tories will lose the next election but it will be because they were 'too nasty' and 'not Leftist enough.'

Whichever way we turn we get socialism mixed with spiv capitalism.

How do we rid ourselves of it ?

formertory said...

Pssst! 'Ere, guv - knackered boiler needs replacing? We can do ourselves a favour 'ere, my son...... new condensing boiler, installed, and for cash it'll be just £insert figure of choice and not a word said to the climate change monkeys.

Lots of heating engineers retiring early.......

CityUnslicker said...

I agree with former Tory. This is a great spot and will be a nice boon to the Black economy.

What next, I wonder...

Sebastian Weetabix said...

This Continuity Socialist government is really getting on one's tits. We need either UKIP or lamposts and hemp.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Couple of things.

1. The requirement to retrofit disabled access is qualified by all sorts of "reasonably practicable" considerations, so if your premises are palpably unsuitable, or Grade I listed, or you are a private club or a charity who quite clearly couldn't afford it, you get an out.

2. They could take some of the sting out of this by making it repayable out of ACTUAL savings on energy bills, ie no savings, you don't pay anything, and thus the installer never gets paid. That should put a stop to the cowboys.

But at root, the whole idea is immoral, insane, and pointless.

Might people, faced with this, finally wake up and tell the political class to take the sex and travel option? One can hope.

Thud said...

If your house is already above spec then they will require the householder do what? insulate the insulation, triple glaze? I'm looking at putting in a bore hole for ground source heating of several properties something that due to specific circumstances will just about work out unlike most other green bullying.

Elby the Beserk said...

The fact that you can buy a perfectly presentable property in Ireland with a couple of acres, for e70 or so becomes increasingly attractive. What on EARTH do they think they are playing at?

idle said...

Thud, old bean: please make sure you leave enough room in your bore hole for the several that I wish to dispose of.

What fun joining a thread made up of EK, CU, S Weetabix, Thud and Elby. Just like the old days.

Electro-Kevin said...

Idle - Where is Tuscan when we need him ???

Mark Wadsworth said...

The whole thing is completely mental, it looks like the Tory govt is as completely mental as the Labour one. And don't try blaming this on the Lib Dems.

Nick Drew said...

see, I knew this one would get the backwoodsmen out in force, good to see you all !

time to plan for the West Country again (when I get back from the land of a couple of acres for e70 or so)

Budgie said...

Ho de hi, I agree, I agree with you all.

idle said...

I last saw the Tuscan in November in Sussex, EK. He wears a slightly larger size in shirts but otherwise is much as before and in good spirits, as he should be, living with the lovely Tuscana. I expect him back here within a few weeks.

I would sign up to a west country gathering.

Anonymous said...

Merv may not get much right, but he was surely on the money in saying whoever won the election would be a 1 term government. Dave and Gideon are utterly hopeless.

dearieme said...

Would this government be better dealt with by sniper rifles or machine guns?

alan said...

The problem is they have backed themselves into a corner.

Cutting CO2 emissions is laudable, but very little can be done until scientists invent better energy related technology. Either that or go Amish.

The only way they can keep to their CO2 deadlines without replacement technology is by scraping the bottom of the barrel in energy improvements.

Other candidates are :-

Banning gas fireplaces, gas cookers, gas central heating.

This could get nutty real quick. They might make tumble driers, Large TV's etc illegal.

A very obvious change no-one talks about much is smoothing electrical demand. Install batteries, charge them using cheap overnight electricity, and use the batteries during daytime to supplement daytime usage. I know an EE in the UK that did this and the system paid back in 2 years.

The basic theory government is following is from the awful book "Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air".

We will go though endless rounds of punishing energy efficiencies.

Major cracks will appear when
- Electric cars have a reasonable range and consumers start switching. That will quickly cause an electrical shortfall (and the infrastructure will be not be in place either - grid upgrades)
- New generation nuclear reactors (Thorium/pB11 fusion) are developed. They will be orders of magnitude cheaper than old nuclear. When finally built in the UK it will bankrupt all efficiency schemes, effectively the schemes will be seen as a complete waste of everyone's money.

New energy related technology (batteries, generation) will start becoming available in ~10yrs. New power generation schemes will then start coming online ~10yr afterwards.

So for the next 10-20 yrs the ONLY option for government to meet its own CO2 targets will be loony efficiency gains.

In the next 10-20yrs it is very likely there will be a transportation collapse. To the politicians this will come out of left field. "No-one told us this would happen!"

The course the UK is taking is very predictable and painful to watch.

Budgie said...

Alan, why ever is "Cutting CO2 emissions" laudable?

Even if the increase in CO2 was entirely responsible (unproven) for the slight warming (0.7°C per century), and even if the increase was entirely man made (again unproven), the CO2 increases we have seen over the last century have been beneficial both for warmth and for crop growth.

alan said...

Did you even read the rest of my post?

If you want this country to suffer a complete and devastating economic collapse because of DECC policy then please carry on endlessly debating whether CO2 is good/bad.

The "fossil fuel" problem is much more profound than mere co2 levels.

If you want something better to attack then start going after the backward looking policy document sending us to our destruction. "Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air", or as I like to call it the "10 step program to becoming Amish".