The Prime Minister is set to unveil his long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy next week which will set out a roadmap to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. It will reportedly include a firm date of 2035 on the ban of all new gas boilers and more incentives to use green alternatives. Proposals are believed to include a “boiler upgrade scheme” and grants for consumers looking to install a heat pump.
The Government previously stated that, by 2025, all new homes will be banned from installing gas and oil boilers and will instead be heated by low-carbon alternatives.
It is believed to have been pushed back to ease the change.
Gas boilers and heat pumps have been contentious issues for the Prime Minister, who has received criticism for the excessive cost that installing a heat pump would bring.
The new plan seeks to ease the stresses of economic worse-off families as well as the Tory MPs who took fire at Mr Johnson’s previous plans.
According to The Telegraph, households will now be reassured that “no one will be forced to remove their working existing boilers” as the ban will only apply to new installations.
Homeowners will now be offered the choice to switch early with the help of a £5,000 “boiler upgrade grant”.
But while economic assistance is provided, this is still not enough to cover the whole cost of installing a heat pump.
Electric heat pumps are seen to be the most viable alternative.
These can cost anywhere from £4,000 to £14,000 to purchase and install – which is significantly more than the £1,000 average cost of a gas boiler.
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Mr Clements pointed out that many houses built since the Seventies were fitted with microbore central heating pipework.
This means the diameter of the pipes is less than 15mm, typically eight or 10mm, while technologies such as heat pumps require a diameter of at least 22mm.
Microbore was very popular in the new-build market for central heating installations as it was cost-effective and easier to install due to its smaller size.
But because the pipework is largely hidden from view under the floorboards, a replacement can reportedly be a very disruptive process.
But despite this, hundreds of millions will go towards the boiler upgrade grant, which has reportedly been agreed between Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The scheme is an expansion of an already established £4,000 state subsidy, the “clean heat grant”.
The Government is said to be planning for millions of households to be eligible for the new “boiler upgrade grant”.
And as the cost is raising concern, ministers are expected to vow to work with industry to get the price of heat pumps down by half by 2025
But a Whitehall source warned this could be overly “ambitious” as the running costs of the two heating systems are said to be similar.
And over the next decade, green levies slapped on electricity bills are set to be switched to gas bills under plans to be approved by ministers.
But other industry voices think there are more simple solutions to the gas problem.
Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the boiler industry’s trade association, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) told Express.co.uk that there is no need to remove gas boilers and install a heat pump if you want to go carbon neutral.
Instead, he said hydrogen-ready boilers, which don’t emit greenhouse gas will be easy to install as the boilers are fitted to the same pipe network as natural gas boilers and are the exact same size.
He said: “There is no impact on the consumer, they do not have to do a thing and everything stays the same. All the engineers do is come along and change two parts and then your hydrogen boiler is ready for use.
“Blending hydrogen into the natural gas grid up to 20 percent, which has been tested successfully, can be rolled out relatively quickly and within the next two or three years we will see hydrogen injected into the gas grid.”
“This gives the government the option to start migrating people from natural gas, or natural gas with a blend of hydrogen, into full hydrogen.”