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EAC comment: Heat and Buildings Strategy

19 October 2021

Reacting to the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, which has been published this afternoon, Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:

“The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy is a positive start and gives the demand signal industry has been waiting for as we move to stem the colossal emissions from our homes. The allocation of £3.9 billion to decarbonise buildings over the next three years is a significant move ahead of COP26.

However, the policy is yet to meet the ambition with heat pump installations, in particular for owner occupiers. Ministers have previously announced the target to install 600,000 heat pumps by 2028, yet the announcement today only supports installation of 90,000 over the next three years. This is a good start but is less than offered initially through the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution announced last year. As yet, there is little acknowledgment that effective use of heat pumps requires buildings to be properly insulated. Our Committee’s evidence highlighted that insulation costs can double the current cost of a heat pump for many of the19 million homes that are older and have an EPC rating of less than C.

Offering grants for heat pump installation can incentivise consumers, but with charges on electricity bills rather than gas, there is little to incentivise the ongoing costs. Our Committee called for moving these levies on to gas bills rather than electricity bills, and I welcome the Government announcement of  consultation with a view to taking this forward.

Cautious – but encouraging – steps have been taken to advance the use of hydrogen in our energy mix within the Government’s plans. It is welcome that the Government is awaiting trials of hydrogen being used in our gas mains before deciding whether to proceed in 2026.”

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