21 September 2023
Ken Gordon, CEO of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA) wishes to express our deep concern on behalf of our members regarding the delay to the phasing-out of fossil fuel boilers. This decision poses significant challenges to the UK’s 2050 climate targets and the growing but fragile heat pump industry.
- More To Do, Less Time: Postponing the phase-out effectively shortens the window to retrofit and replace millions of heating systems. A delay now will only compress the timeline later, making the challenge exponentially greater. Rapid transformation will be required closer to 2050, putting undue strain on industry resources, supply chains, and skilled labour. Achieving the 2050 targets becomes riskier and potentially more expensive for both homeowners and the government. This does not safeguard ordinary families; it means they will have to expect even more disruption in the future. Government should provide the funding required for transition, not families.
- Setbacks to the Heat Pump Industry: The ground source heat pump sector, along with other heat pump industries, has been steadily growing in response to previous government guidelines and commitments. The industry has heavily invested in research, development, and workforce training to meet anticipated demands. A delay in policy would destabilise this growth, causing uncertainty and potentially lead to job losses, and reinforce consumers’ reluctance to join an industry that is volatile to such sudden policy changes. This affects many families who are now even more confused about the way to do something about climate change.
- Impact on Housing Developers: The recent decision will undoubtedly lead housing developers to reconsider or cancel existing contracts for eco-friendly heating solutions, in favour of traditional fossil fuel boilers. Not only does this put existing contracts and investments at risk, but it also contradicts the broader vision of a sustainable, low-carbon future for the UK's housing sector.
- Damaging Signal to Stakeholders: A delay would signal a grave lack of commitment to addressing the most urgent crisis facing the world today and would break faith with all concerned stakeholders including younger voters.
We, at the GSHPA, understand the complex considerations involved in such policy decisions. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that short-term leniencies might lead to long-term consequences that could be both environmentally and economically costly.
We urge the government to reassess the implications of the delay and to continue its support for the renewable energy sector. The GSHPA remains committed to assisting the government in achieving its 2050 climate goals and ensuring a sustainable future for all.