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Government announces plans to end fossil-fuel heating

Fossil-fuel heating systems will no longer be installed in new houses from 2025, the Government has said as part of its Spring Statement.

Speaking on 13 March, Chancellor Philip Hammond said a Future Homes Standard will be introduced, mandating the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025.

Chancellor Hammond said the step would help the UK “deliver lower carbon and lower fuel bills”. He also said the government will publish proposals to require an increased proportion of green gas in the grid, advancing the decarbonisation of the mains gas supply.

The announcement comes after the release in February of the Committee on Climate Change report, UK housing: Fit for the future?, which recommended no new homes should be connected to the gas grid by 2025, to help the UK meet its legally binding climate change targets. Instead, the Committee said these homes should be heated by low-carbon sources.

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors described the news as positive, and good news for gas engineers.

CEO John Thompson said: “While the government’s advisory committee published a report which recommended ending the connection of new homes to the gas grid by 2025, I don’t believe the Chancellor’s Spring Statement goes that far, as his proposals include increasing the amount of green gas in the national grid, to replace natural gas from the North Sea.

“Keeping new houses connected to the gas grid also potentially means that hundreds of thousands –  if not millions of houses – will have access to an infrastructure to enable them to adopt hydrogen, which the CCC has previously concluded is a credible option to help decarbonise the UK energy system.

“However, the devil is always in the detail, so we will keep a watchful eye on how this policy progresses. We need to see a detailed strategy which addresses the requirements for training and development, and the inevitable investment which will be required by heating contractors to move towards installing and servicing new heating technologies.”

HHIC director Stewart Clements said: “By default, the announcement from Government to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid signals a strong message to the industry and the consumer that, although the Government have committed to ‘end fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025’, their commitment to green gas suggests they understand that the gas grid can deliver low carbon heating. So gas boilers, using biomethane or hydrogen as a fuel, should still be part of the mix for new build homes.”

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