The government has set out plans to offer £5,000 grants to help homeowners install heat pumps and other energy-efficient systems to replace old boilers.
The move is part of a £450m boiler upgrade scheme, which comes under a wider £3.9bn spending promise through the government’s Heat and Building Strategy to reduce carbon emissions from buildings.
Ministers have stated their “ambition” for all new heating systems installed in homes from 2035 to be low carbon.
Through the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the government has set out its plan to incentivise people to install low-carbon heating systems in a simple, fair and cheap way as they come to replace their old boilers over the coming decade. This will significantly reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels and exposure to global price spikes, whilst supporting up to 240,000 jobs across the UK by 2035.
New grants of £5,000 will be available from April next year, meaning that the cost of installing a heat pump should be similar to that of fitting a traditional gas boiler.
The government and industry will also work together to help meet the aim of heat pumps costing the same to buy and run as fossil fuel boilers by 2030, with big cost reductions of between a quarter and a half by 2025 expected as the market expands and technology develops.
The government pledges that no-one will be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boilers, but instead it hopes to see a gradual transition to low-carbon heating systems over the next 14 years
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: “As we clean up the way we heat our homes over the next decade, we are backing our brilliant innovators to make clean technology like heat pumps as cheap to buy and run as gas boilers – supporting thousands of green jobs.
“Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without costing them extra, so that going green is the better choice when their boiler needs an upgrade.
“The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out how we are taking ‘no-regrets’ action now, particularly on heat pumps, whilst supporting ongoing trials and other research and innovation on our future heating systems, including on hydrogen.
“We will make a decision on the potential role for hydrogen in heating buildings by 2026, by learning from our Hydrogen Village pilot.
“Heat pump technology will play a key role in all scenarios, so for those who want to install them now, we are supporting them to do so.
Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says: “Recent volatile global gas prices have highlighted the need to double down on our efforts to reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and move away from gas boilers over the coming decade to protect consumers in the long term.
“As the technology improves and costs plummet over the next decade, we expect low carbon heating systems will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers.
“Through our new grant scheme, we will ensure people are able to choose a more efficient alternative in the meantime.”
But Keystone Property Finance chief executive David Whittaker says the £5,000 grant scheme “smacks of half-baked opportunism”.
He says: “This administration has spoken many times of bringing about a new ‘green industrial revolution’ but, as yet, we haven’t seen any worthwhile actions to back up the rhetoric.
“Housing emits nearly 20% of all greenhouse gases in the UK and so we need an all-encompassing, joined-up plan to upgrade the nation’s property stock.
“Offering money to help homeowners swap their inefficient gas boiler for an energy efficient heat pump is a start, but it is not a silver bullet.
“I’d like nothing more than for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to deliver a bold Budget next week in which he announces a genuine vision to retrofit UK homes.
“It’s over to you, Mr Chancellor.”
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