Greenpeace considering legal action over UK energy efficiency targets

Greenpeace could soon legally challenge the UK government over energy efficiency plans which will help less than 6% of those experiencing fuel poverty by 2030.  

The organisation has accused ministers of ‘throwing in the towel’, as current energy efficiency policies will leave almost 95% in fuel poverty.  

Fuel poverty reduction targets for England were introduced in 2014, as the government committed to ensuring as many fuel poor homes as practicable achieve an energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030.  

However, a freedom of information request has revealed this will reduce the number of homes in fuel poverty in 2020 by just 12% by 2030.  

The request also showed that outdated data from 2020 is being used as a baseline, despite the number of fuel poor households doubling since 2020 due to rocketing energy prices within the last year. An estimated 6.7 million, almost a quarter of UK households, are now thought to be in fuel poverty.  

man in green crew neck t-shirt holding smoking pipe

Greenpeace UK’s head of UK climate, Mel Evans, said: ‘By throwing in the towel on tackling fuel poverty the government has shackled the poorest people to the coldest homes and the highest bills. 

‘Almost a quarter of all households are now in fuel poverty. This is a national crisis yet the government’s failing strategy for tackling it means that at this rate it won’t meet its legally binding 2030 target until close to the end of the next century.  

 ‘A national home insulation programme can lift people out of fuel poverty, support better health and tackle the climate emergency. Unless the government gets on with it, we’ll see them in court.’  

Greenpeace lawyers say the government’s admission of policy failures on energy efficiency are a failing of its legal duty and could potentially be unlawful, providing grounds for a judicial review.  

The organisation says it will take the government to court unless urgent action is taken to review its strategy on fuel poverty and without demonstrations on how targets could be met.  

UK100, a network of local leaders, says the government should roll out an urgent social housing energy efficiency programme to reduce bills by up to £1,500 a year for tenants. This could be achieved with funding already pledged to improve social housing energy efficiency.  

Interim Chief Executive, Jason Torrance, said: ‘Brits are amidst a bleak winter. Millions are facing fuel poverty. And they are understandably terrified about what the future holds when prices rise again in April. 

‘In that context, it is easy to understand the rationale for the Greenpeace lawsuit. But the Government can avoid a costly legal battle and raise hundreds of thousands of families out of fuel poverty by urgently adopting UK100’s oven-ready plan for an energy efficiency drive to alleviate pressure on the most vulnerable – and it won’t cost the earth.’  

Photo by Greg Rosenke


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top