Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP has extended the amount of time before oil and LPG boilers are to be phased out, while increasing the amount of money available via the Boiler Upgrade Scheme for Heat Pumps.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is being increased by 50% to a maximum of £7,500.
There will be a delay in the ban on oil and LPG boilers for off-gas grid homes moving the deadline from 2026 to 2035.
A ban on the sale of new gas boilers will come into effect in 2035.
The Prime Minister also announced an ‘exemption’ for the poorest households.
Mr Sunak noted that the commitment to meeting 2050 Net Zero targets would remain.
Reacting to the announcement Ian Rippin, CEO, MCS, commented: “MCS welcomes the Government announcement today that Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant values will be increased to £7,500. Making it easier and more affordable for the average UK consumer to transition to low-carbon heating is vital if we are to reach our national decarbonisation goals.
“More people will now have the confidence and ability to invest in low-carbon heating and this is an important step forward towards net zero.”
“However, it is disappointing to see a delay in the deadline to phase out new gas boilers by 2035. The most important element of helping consumers make the right, informed, green choice is clarity and moving the goalposts now risks confusing home and business owners about what the right thing to do is.”
Henrik Hansen, Managing Director at Vaillant Group UK & Ireland said: “As the leading supplier of home heating systems, we recognise the importance of giving homeowners choice when it comes to heating their homes. For almost 150 years we’ve been committed to providing efficient heating solutions for our customers’ homes and, as a manufacturer of both gas boilers and heat pumps, we are technology agnostic. Our aim is to provide unbiased guidance for homeowners on both technologies to make the right decision for their property and heating requirements.
“We understand from customer feedback that the cost and complexity of transitioning to a heat pump is a major barrier for homeowners keen to install low carbon technology. Our experience from some European countries with more established heat pump markets has shown that stronger subsidies and the benefit of lower running costs can speed up the consumer adoption of the technology. The announcement today of the increase of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to £7,500 will be welcome news to homeowners in England and Wales considering making the switch.
“We await more detail from the announcement made today on the overall budget for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. If the overall budget is not increased, the number of homeowners able to access the grant will be limited to 20,000 per annum which represents less than 0.1% of the housing stock in the UK, potentially slowing down the transition to heat pumps. We believe that significant investment into consumer education is needed together with a rebalancing of gas and electricity prices to make the potential benefits of installing and running a heat pump more attractive to the homeowner.
“With the number of installers able to competently install a heat pump under the MCS scheme still at a relatively low level compared to gas safe registered installers, more needs to be done to upskill existing installers while attracting new skilled labour to the industry.”
NIBE issued the following response: “We are exasperated by the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the phase out of fossil fuel boilers in off grid homes and strongly disagree with the notion that the technology needed isn’t ready. Heat pumps represent a viable solution that can help us achieve Net Zero -a target that should be a top priority without hesitation or delay.
“Additionally, while the increase in funding for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme aligns with our advocacy efforts, it is just one of many necessary steps. For example, ground source heat pumps are a logical solution in off-grid homes using high carbon fossil fuels, yet the scheme covers a lower percentage of their costs compared to other technologies.
“Moreover, policy certainty is crucial not only to industry but installers who need confidence in the direction of the market. The decision to backtrack on targets sends all the wrong signals at a time when we need the green light to pave the way for a net zero future.”
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