22 September 2023
Industry has today warned that the 2035 phase-out of fossil fuel boilers must become a firm commitment rather than an “ambition” to avoid further damage to investor, installer and consumer confidence following the Prime Minister’s announcements (20/09/23) on decarbonising home heating.
Reacting to the Government’s policy changes, Charlotte Lee, Chief Executive of the Heat Pump Association, said: “The Government has once again moved the goalposts for heat decarbonisation in the UK, and this risks damaging investor, installer and consumer confidence in this space unless this re-confirmed end date for fossil fuel boilers is strengthened from being an “ambition” to being a firm commitment.
The delay is yet another blow to the heating industry’s confidence in Government policy as Industry – including boiler manufacturers, has invested in good faith in manufacturing facilities, training and innovation to support heat pump deployment in keeping with the Government’s election manifesto and Heat and Buildings Strategy Commitments – particularly in line with the now abandoned end-date of 2026 for fossil fuel boilers off the gas grid.
Moreover, introducing and justifying possible exemptions by suggesting that many homes are not suitable for a heat pump is not supported by the most recent findings of Government-funded heat pump field trials. Consumers and installers may now adopt a damaging “wait and see” approach based on incorrect information, thereby delaying the inevitable transition to decarbonising heat.
Whilst we are pleased that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant has been increased, the current budget will now only support 20,000 heat pumps per year, just 3% of the 600,000 ambition for 2028. We urge the Government to take steps to increase this budget to allow all those who wish to install a heat pump to benefit from the grant.
We call upon the government to take swift action to reassure the heat pump market– by making the 2035 end date for fossil fuel boilers a firm commitment, by introducing the Future Homes and Buildings Standards in 2025 for new build, by increasing the budget available for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and to take urgent action to reduce the price of electricity relative to fossil fuels.”