17 March 2023
Jeremy Hunt announced that the Climate Change Agreement scheme would be extended, and further promises were made to deliver extensive nuclear and energy relief support. Paul Wrighton, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure at Johnson Controls, insists that the government must implement more specific strategies if the UK is to make significant steps towards net zero - and that easy wins such as heat pumps are being overlooked.
Paul said: "The chancellor’s action on energy – especially the extension of the Climate Change Agreement scheme - sends a relatively positive message, however the lack of clear ringfenced funding for wider energy efficiency measures is disappointing, especially at a time when cost pressures for households and businesses are going nowhere fast. What was missing from the budget was a bold fresh programme promoting heat pump uptake and other energy efficiency opportunities – heat pumps especially are a no brainer for cost, efficiency and sustainability compared with old gas boilers.
"The current boiler upgrade scheme has a budget of £150m each year for three years and aims to issue 30,000 vouchers annually. But in the first eight months of operation, only 9,888 grants were awarded. There’s a huge opportunity to put tension on the matter with a real nationwide programme to accelerate the change.
"What we need to see now is the government supporting businesses in getting the technical assistance they need directly or via industry partnerships so they can identify opportunities to reduce emissions and develop a plan to transition to net zero. This could include providing access to experts in energy efficiency, renewable energy, or other relevant fields. It’s also important for the government to facilitate knowledge sharing and best practices by creating networks or platforms for businesses to share information and ideas about how to reduce emissions.”