Energy Policy

Gas heating for new houses will be banned by 2025, the Chancellor has said, although gas hobs will still be allowed. The homes will keep warm with devices such as heat exchangers – and with “world-leading” insulation standards. It’s part of a bid by Philip Hammond to address the concerns of children protesting about climate change. Green groups welcomed the measure but said the Chancellor had ducked major challenges on the climate. They wanted action to cut emissions from traffic, planes and existing draughty homes – which will form the vast majority of the housing stock for decades. Instead, Mr Hammond offered what they called an inadequate idea for tackling aviation emissions.

BBC 13th March 2019 read more »

Gas boilers will be banned in new homes from 2025 to tackle climate change, the government has announced. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said that a so-called future homes standard would be introduced “mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems”, which would deliver “lower carbon and lower fuel bills too”. The announcement was made after advice last month from the government-appointed Committee on Climate Change, which said that developers should be banned from connecting homes to the gas grid from 2025. Mr Hammond’s statement did not go as far as the committee had recommended because the new standard will only ban gas boilers, not gas hobs or cookers. A Treasury spokeswoman said that new homes could still be connected to the gas network. The new standard will change building regulations, which do not cover cooking appliances, she said. Asked how banning gas boilers would result in lower fuel bills, as Mr Hammond had claimed, the spokeswoman said: “Costs will form a big part of the consultation. [That’s] exactly why it’s vital we consult to consider the impact.” The committee said that electric heat pumps, which extract heat from the air or ground, should be used in place of gas boilers. They typically cost £6,000, several times more than a boiler, but can be cheaper to run depending on how much electricity they consume. The GMB union, which has 30,000 members in the gas industry including boiler engineers, condemned the announcement, saying that it could result in more homes being in fuel poverty because gas was four times cheaper than electricity. Justin Bowden, GMB’s national secretary, said: “GMB calls on parliament to reject this proposal until there is thorough public debate on the energy mix and who pays. “We recognise the UK must up its game in respect of its climate change commitments under the Paris treaty but today’s announcement doesn’t sound well thought through. This is another example of the demerger of economic and political questions and decision-making.” Gas used in existing homes would increasingly come from innovations using biogas, which used sewage, food waste, crops and other organic material rather than fossil fuel reserves, Mr Hammond said. The government would publish proposals “to require an increased proportion of green gas in the grid, advancing decarbonisation of our mains gas supply”, he said.

Times 14th March 2019 read more »

Chancellor announces ban on fossil fuel heating in all new homes from 2025 Move part of a broader campaign to cut household energy use Campaigners welcome the move but say existing households need better insulation. Gas boilers and other fossil fuel heaters will be banned from all new homes from 2025 as part of a government drive to improve household energy efficiency. The move would see green alternatives such as heat pumps being installed as standard in all new homes. These included a consultation on how to help small businesses reduce energy bills and emissions and a pledge to increase the proportion of green gas used in the energy grid. “Banning fossil fuels from heating new homes from 2025 is an overdue but positive step forward,” said Friends of the Earth’s head of political affairs, Dave Timms. “But we can’t continue to neglect our existing housing stock, many of which leak heat and cost a fortune in fuel bills. The Chancellor did nothing to reverse the massive cuts to home energy efficiency programmes which have seen insulation rates plummet to almost zero.”

iNews 13th March 2019 read more »

Britain will accelerate its race towards a zero-carbon economy through a raft of green measures designed to cut carbon emissions while safeguarding clean economic growth. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, 
offered the Government’s clearest support yet for tackling climate change by pledging to build sustainability “into the heart” of the UK economy. The Treasury has responded to rising environmental concerns by calling for a series of green policies that will help British homes use less high-carbon gas and place an economic imperative on protecting the environment. Britain’s gas grid could soon turn green under Government plans to lower the carbon emissions from heating homes and businesses. The Chancellor signalled the biggest gas grid change since the late Sixties with plans to replace high-carbon natural gas with “green” alternatives to help meet climate change targets. The UK has already cut carbon from the electricity sector to its lowest since 1881 but tackling the gas grid remains “one of the biggest decarbonisation challenges”, according to David Smith of the Energy Networks Association. He welcomed Philip Hammond’s plans to consult on how to heat homes with “green gas” options that will help to reduce carbon emissions and keep energy bills down. Gas network companies are already trialling technology to start making a transformation towards clean heating. Anna Turley, chairman of the Hydrogen all-party parliamentary group, said using hydrogen in the gas grid could “unlock innovations in other sectors, such as transport, and create high-quality jobs in places like Teesside”. The North East region is already planning a hydrogen revolution that could lead to more than 700,000 homes across Teesside and Tyneside being converted to run on hydrogen by 2034, with work to convert homes to be undertaken street by street from 2024.

Telegraph 13th March 2019 read more »

Low-carbon heating to replace gas in new UK homes after 2025. Hammond appeared to row back on implementing the full recommendations from the government’s advisory committee on climate change last month, which called for new homes to have no gas for cooking or heating from 2025. The move away from gas heating in new homes was given a cautious welcome by environmental groups, although they said the chancellor had to be more ambitious, systemic and radical if the government was to get to grips with the climate emergency. Mel Evans, a senior campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said although the plan to end fossil fuels in new homes was vital – and she welcomed the measures to protect wildlife – tackling the climate crisis required bigger thinking. “Issues like the shoddy state of our existing housing stock and rapid adoption of electric vehicles require serious money behind serious policies,” such as banning new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, she said.

Guardian 13th March 2019 read more »

Independent 13th March 2019 read more »

FT 13th March 2019 read more »

Business Green 13th March 2019 read more »

New plans announced by the government to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss have been dismissed as greenwashing by environmental groups. Carbon offsets for flights and an end to gas heating in new homes were among the measures floated by Philip Hammond in his Spring Statement. But with consultations and calls for evidence supplanting hard targets, the chancellor was accused of “fiddling while the planet burns”.

Independent 13th March 2019 read more »

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) welcomes news that the UK Government intends to implement a series of measures to help reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. The policies and consultations, announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement today, include: A ‘future homes standard’ which will ensure that new UK homes will be built without fossil fuel heating from 2025. This proposal is in line with CCC’s recommendation on new build housing in a major report to Government last month. New proposals to increase the proportion of ‘green’ gas in the gas grid, helping to reduce emissions from the mains gas supply. The consultation is expected to consider continued support for biomethane (and other forms of gasification) after funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive comes to an end in 2021. The Committee has been recommending increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid since 2016. A call for evidence on whether all passenger carriers should be required to offer genuine carbon offsets to customers. A call for evidence on a new business energy efficiency scheme which the Government previously announced it would consult on in the autumn 2018 budget.

CCC 13th March 2019 read more »

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Published: 14 March 2019