Charities take Government to court

Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged have launched court proceedings against the Government for not doing enough to eradicate fuel poverty.

The charities say that the Warm Homes Act, passed in 2000, requires the Government to end fuel poverty for vulnerable people by 2010, and for everyone by 2016. But the Government has confirmed that it will miss the 2010 target and is likely to miss the 2016 target.

The two charities have filed a judicial review application with the High Court, claiming that the Government has not provided a plan of action or minimum standards as required and demanding that it explain how it will meet its obligations.

“When fuel costs fell, the Government was happy to take the credit for falling fuel poverty figures,” said Mervyn Kohler, special adviser for Help the Aged. “Now that the energy market has changed and the importance of domestic energy consumption has grown, it must take responsibility for its inadequate and passive response.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “The Government remains committed to seeking, so far as reasonably practicable, an end to fuel poverty within vulnerable households by 2010. This target is challenging due, in part, to high fuel prices, but we believe that we have a strong package of measures in place to tackle fuel poverty.”

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