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Net Zero & decarbonising heat in homes – Government’s approach lacks strategic direction, says Business Committee

3 February 2022

The Government’s approach to decarbonising residential heating lacks clear direction and current policies are not of the scale necessary to help meet the UK’s 2050 net zero target, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee in a report published.

The report urges the Government to bring forward a heat decarbonisation sector deal to help develop low carbon heating technologies, scale up the heat pump market to meet the Government’s target of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028, and provide support to gas boiler engineers who will be needed to re-skill to undertake this work.

The report states the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy did not set out how Government’s heat decarbonisation targets will be met and what contingencies are in place if the target is missed.

The report calls on the Government to come forward with a public awareness campaign to explain to the public how their heating systems in their homes will change and the potential costs and benefits of this transition.

Chair's comment

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: “Replacing gas boilers is a huge task and we are not making anywhere near enough progress. As it stands, we will miss our net zero target. The Government must act urgently to help speed up delivery and support bill payers and workers who will be affected by the change.

“Bill payers today are deeply worried about their energy costs, with many people struggling to afford to heat their homes. Most people don’t realise that their gas boiler will need to be replaced within the next 10 to 15 years. The Government and energy companies should explain to bill payers why switching away from gas and insulating our homes is not only important in tackling climate change, but also a route to reducing energy bills. The Government also needs to spell out what financial help will be put in place for those who need it most.

“As the Government decides on financial help for customers with the cost of their energy bills, they must also come forward with a replacement for the Green Homes Grant. Action is needed to improve insulation and energy efficiency in our homes and to step up the pace in delivering low carbon heating systems, at a lower cost to households than today. Ministers can’t simply leave this to the market – Government should tackle the cost of heating our homes in the round and bring forward joined-up policies that address these issues together.

“Decarbonising heat in our homes will require engineers who know how to install low carbon heating systems in every community across the country. The Government should work with industry and trade unions to support a low carbon heating apprenticeship programme and ensure existing workers get access to re-skilling courses that will support their transition to the new green jobs of the future.”

The report welcomes the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme announced in the Heat and Buildings Strategy and makes a series of recommendations to ensure the success of the scheme, including focussing

public funds on lower income households and partnering with industry and trade unions to create jobs and training pathways.

The report also makes a number of recommendations relating to heat networks, the Future Homes Standard, targeted financial support for the fuel poor and vulnerable customers, and on consumer protection.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee is also currently undertaking an inquiry on Energy pricing and the future of the Energy Market. The Committee inquiry’s will be examining the extent to which the policy and regulatory environment has contributed to the current issues affecting the energy market, the impact on consumers of rising energy prices, and the operation of the energy price cap.

Further information

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