Aerial view of typical urban UK homes

Industry reacts to Heat and Buildings Strategy

What does the industry think of the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy? While many organisations have welcomed the long-awaited details, many think it doesn’t go far enough to help the UK reach net zero by 2050.

Government should be going further
“While any incentives that remove the financial barriers to heat pump adoption are a positive step, we think the government should be going further to ensure that the technology can be rolled out at the scale that is needed.”
Iain Bevan, commercial manager of Heating & Renewables, Daikin UK

Pleased to see £5,000 grant
We firmly believe that all viable technologies have a place, including electrification, hydrogen, and deployment of low-carbon heat networks. BEIS is wise to leave these options open as it is abundantly clear that no single solution will deliver net zero.
“One key part of the strategy is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, designed to encourage the uptake of heat pumps.  In our recently published white paper, we highlighted that the £4,000 per installation grant originally consulted upon may not be sufficient to close the affordability gap. Therefore, we are pleased to see a higher grant level of £5,000 grant taken forward in the strategy.
“We have concerns over the proposals to re-allocate the levy cost aspect of electricity bills on to gas bills over time. This is a sensitive topic that needs to be carefully considered.”
Karen Boswell, managing director, Baxi Heating 

Doesn’t set the world alight
“The grant hardly sets the world alight and is insufficient to the scale of the challenge we face in terms of reaching net zero.
“It subsidises 30,000 heat pumps being installed each year and is well short of the support needed to get to 600,000 heat pumps installed each year by 2028. My suspicion is that the Chancellor is putting the brakes on the Prime Minister’s flight of green fantasy.
“I suspect hydrogen-ready boiler installations will be far greater than that number by 2028, suggesting that consumers have made their choice. But that choice, between heat pumps or hydrogen-ready boilers, is one they should have.”
Mike Foster, CEO, Energy and Utilities Alliance

We will support the transition
“HHIC welcomes the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy. HHIC and its members will continue to support the government and consumers with the transition to a mix of new, low-carbon heating solutions for different property types in different parts of the country – such as electric heat pumps, heat networks, and hydrogen boilers.
“The strategy from government allows the HHIC membership to make the investment choices required to facilitate the manufacturing, installation, and training for low-carbon heating products.”
Stewart Clements, director, HHIC

What about off-gas heating alternatives
“Grant UK welcomes this step on the journey to net zero for the UK. However, there are some barriers to overcome before we can truly begin to roll out some of the government’s proposals. We are concerned that, as yet, there has been no announcements regarding other off-gas heating alternatives, such as biofuels (HVO) and hybrid heating, which would have a major impact on reducing carbon emissions and are more practical in terms of an immediate roll-out.”
Neil Sawers, commercial technical manager, Grant UK

Huge let-down
“This strategy is a huge let-down. The government has failed to implement many of the main recommendations of its own green jobs taskforce, just two weeks before it hosts the UN climate change conference.
“That’s not the way to show global leadership – it’s self-sabotage.
“Today’s spending commitments will do little to address the yawning investment gap needed to get British industry ready for net zero. Unless ministers do more to future-proof and decarbonise energy-intensive industries, hundreds of thousands of jobs in UK manufacturing and supply chains will be in jeopardy.”
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, TUC

Home suitability not addressed
“Although the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy does look like a clear indication of ongoing investment, it doesn’t go far enough.
“When considering a heat pump, there are many factors to assess which are not considered here, such as the property’s suitability. A home may need to be adapted to accommodate a heat pump, such as resizing radiators and making space for hot water cylinders, which carry cost implications. Therefore, the proposed grants may help with the cost to purchase a heat pump, but there will still be costly investment required from homeowners in existing properties.
“As for boilers, the strategy does not refer to any legislation behind a boiler ban, so it’s not surprising that there is confusion among installers and homeowners.
“Whilst it is encouraging to see that hydrogen is still on the agenda and is referred to within the strategy, it is a shame to see that a decision around hydrogen won’t be made until five years from now. With hydrogen-ready boilers already successfully trialled, they could be a strong alternative to fossil fuel boilers on the market today – yet this strategy seems to omit them.”
Carl Arntzen, CEO, Worcester Bosch

Gas engineers overlooked again
“Once again, installers have been largely overlooked: we are the ones who must retrain, but at what cost to us? Although the sentiment behind this free government money is all well and good, without decent, well-trained installers doing the job correctly, there will be a lot of end users with cold homes come winter 2022.”
Andy Gibbs, gas engineer

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