Some 10 million homes will need to have their fossil fuel heating systems replaced by 2035 if the UK is to meet its net-zero target – but the rate of government-supported upgrades is just one-fifth of this level, a new policy briefing has concluded. Produced by experts at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), the briefing paper warns that “significant” changes to the nations domestic heat policy framework will need to be made in the early 2020s, if the sector is to align with the long-term net-zero target. It outlines how a record 1.67 million gas boilers were installed in British homes during 2019, with installation rates up almost 2% year-on-year. The Future Homes Standard will prohibit housebuilders from fitting properties with gas infrastructure from 2025. But the Conservative government has promised to ensure that 300,000 new homes are created each year – meaning that, if this commitment is met, 1.5 million new homes will be locked into the gas grid.
Edie 9th Oct 2020 read more »
Letter Green Alliance: Experts are right to raise the alarm about the climate impacts of how we heat our homes. That the UK is on course to take 700 years to achieve low-carbon heating should spur the government to action. Its first step should be to end the subsidy for heating that maintains the high-carbon status quo and does little to help those in fuel poverty. The reduced VAT rate on domestic gas is discouraging innovation and investment in low-carbon heating technology, and the £2bn in uncollected revenue mainly benefits the wealthy because they use the most energy. Understandably, politicians don’t want to raise heating bills for those on the lowest incomes. But they don’t have to, if they design a fairer policy that actually does more for the poorest households. This would involve removing the discount on gas and heating fuels and ringfencing the extra revenue. It should be redistributed to low-income homes and used to install energy efficiency measures and low-carbon heating systems. That way, fuel poverty and its health impacts could be tackled at the same time as climate change.
Guardian 11th Oct 2020 read more »