The industry must learn lessons from the London Boiler Scrappage scheme, and simplify initiatives aiming to encourage homeowners to upgrade their inefficient boilers, says Worcester Bosch.
The ‘Boris Boilers’ scheme was launched in early 2016, promising Londonders £400 cash back to replace their older gas appliances with newer, cleaner models.
With the then Mayor of London Boris Johnson stating that the scheme could offer householders potential savings of £340 a year and reduce overall CO2 emissions by 9,750 tonnes, the £2.6 million set aside looked as though it would be snapped up by savvy homeowners. Yet, nearly a year down the line, the scheme has still not exhausted its funding.
According to Neil Schofield, Head of External Affairs at Worcester Bosch, the slow take-up could be down to the scheme’s ‘overcomplicated’ criteria, which state that any boilers being replaced must be Band G or below.
“We can only presume that there is still money left in the pot because homeowners are struggling to work out if their boiler is eligible,” says Neil. “There aren’t too many people around who can identify a Band G boiler.
“In light of this, those who developed the scheme have probably learned from their mistakes, in that the scope of the scheme’s criteria was perhaps too complicated.”
The idea of the scheme itself is a welcome one, adds Neil, but he reckons changes would need to be made if other local authorities wish to adopt similar incentives. “It is extremely encouraging to see that boiler scrappage is back on the agenda, and the administrative simplicity of the scheme must be praised.
“That said, we believe that it must be made equally simple for a homeowner to identify an eligible boiler in the first place. Opening the scheme up to any appliance that still has a pilot light or an open flue, for example, would have eliminated these complications and encouraged a much greater take-up.
“In terms of easy ways to improve energy efficiency in homes and lower carbon emissions, there is arguably no simpler a solution than a boiler scrappage scheme. However, if others councils are to follow in the footsteps of the London Mayor – and we sincerely hope they would consider doing so – the key is to make the scheme as easy as possible for homeowners to access. This means going back to basics where assessment criteria are concerned.”