Written evidence submitted by Maurice Husbands (DHH0143)


To. The BEIS Committee.

Decarbonising Heat in Homes.


Thank you for the opportunity of submitting some written evidence to the BEIS committee. I hope you consider my paper is evidence.


My name is Maurice Husbands.  I was employed in the UK oil markets for 36 years initially by Shell-Mex and BP and then Shell UK. I held marketing management roles for 22 years. I did not like early retirement and became a Business Adviser and Trainer for 15 years mainly helping people who wanted to start their own business. The Enterprise Program in Bristol was pretty successful for many years. Now retired I try to keep informed and still help one of my sons with his small import, and until January, export business.


I was involved in the start of small bore central heating in the UK which was launched in the Autumn of 1959 via “Mrs. 1970” by SMBP, after 2 years of planning. Oil – delivered to customers tanks via vehicles fitted with meters and hose reels. One of my responsibilities was to ensure all our Distributors had tankers so fitted. I carried on taking an interest in central heating as it became the major part of our AD’s business and I have continued to do so. I have another son who is a heating engineer/plumber and he still keeps me up to date via trade magazines. I have also kept in touch with one of the distributors I looked after for many years, Mitchell and Webber, based in Cornwall.


I have watched with disbelieve the opinion that Heat Pumps are the answer to replacing natural gas, oil and LPG boilers. Wonderful things in the right situation. But to fit in 30 million existing homes?  A couple of years ago I used to read the Minutes of the Government/Industry Contact Group re. the future development of off-gas grid heating. That seems to have died a death. I started to e mail my MP, Darren Jones, last Autumn  purely with the intention of acting as a SIGN POST to what was going on. I was aware that he was also the Chair of BEIS. Hydrogen was being considered as the replacement to natural gas, bio fuels were being developed to replace current oil products for heating , agriculture and aviation, etc. Trials had started by Mitchell and Webber in Cornwall as well as “Up North”. I have been very impressed with the articles that Martyn Bridges, a Director of Worcester Bosch has written in the Heating and Plumbing magazine regarding a natural gas/hydrogen boiler, about the very high cost of replacing an existing gas boiler with a heat pump, etc, etc. Almost certainly a complete replacement of the central heating system will be required plus the installation of a hot water cylinder.


I sent a copy of many article’s to Darren Jones, as my MP and I asked why Martyn Bridges appeared not to be involved with BEIS. I also queried why no one within BEIS appeared interested in Bio Fuels.  I e mailed regarding the March issue of the Fuel Oil News,  listing all the  articles which should have been of interest. But no one from BEIS does appear interested! The trials of Bio Kero for the domestic market and Bio Gas Oil  for the Agricultural Market appear to have been ignored. Ken. Cronin, new Chief Executive of the UKIFDA, also appears to have been ignored. Oil refineries are being modified to include bio fuels in the UK and across the world. It would appear that the BEISS committee instead of challenging, have just gone along with Lord Deben’s proposal which the Government appears to have accepted, that Heat Pump’s are the only option. Forgive me but I cant help wondering, is there a conspiracy going on as the decision makes no sense to me.  Other new options are also surfacing and between now and 2050 other entirely new schemes are bound to surface. District Heating has been mentioned. Shell had quite a few District Heating schemes at one time and installed one or more large tanks to feed housing estates via oil meters, examples of what was possible.   


Here in Bristol, our  Mayor (currently up for re-election) has decreed that Bristol will replace all its gas boilers with heat pumps by 2030!  If he is re-elected please tell him not to be so silly. Where does he think the money will come from and does he understand what is involved? Where and how to fit the unit, to “modify” (replace) the current heating system. Does he really think the people of Bristol will simply go along with his costly idea. Just think of the disruption.


If you would like a further copy of the articles I e mailed to Darren Jones I will gladly oblige.


Thank you for reading.



Maurice Husbands.




April 2021