Government announces plan to reduce cost of low-carbon heating

Households will benefit from £5,000 government grants to help install low-carbon heating systems, as part of more than £3.9bn of new funding to decarbonise heat and buildings through the Heat and Buildings Strategy.

A £60m innovation fund has also been launched with the aim of making clean heating systems smaller and easier to install and cheaper to run.

This comes as the government confirms its ambition for all new heating systems installed in UK homes from 2035 to be low carbon.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: ‘As we clean up the way we heat our homes over the next decade, we are backing our brilliant innovators to make clean technology like heat pumps as cheap to buy and run as gas boilers – supporting thousands of green jobs.

‘Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without costing them extra, so that going green is the better choice when their boiler needs an upgrade.’

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Business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, added: ‘Recent volatile global gas prices have highlighted the need to double down on our efforts to reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and move away from gas boilers over the coming decade to protect consumers in long term.

‘As the technology improves and costs plummet over the next decade, we expect low carbon heating systems will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers. Through our new grant scheme, we will ensure people are able to choose a more efficient alternative in the meantime.’

However, climate solutions specialist Ashden argues that the Heat and Buildings Strategy is a ‘missed chance’ to kickstart a home heating revolution.

Ashden explain that UK homes must be made more energy efficient before gas boilers are replaced to avoid skyrocketing electricity bills, calling for a robust insulation strategy from the government.

They also see the push towards green energy as an opportunity to address the skills gap in green building and heating installation, which will be crucial in rolling out heat pumps across the UK.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden, said: ‘We have recently witnessed the impact of skills shortages on the haulage industry and the resulting fuel crisis. The installer skills gap is also a key blockage that we were expecting the Heat and Buildings Strategy to clear. There is a massive gap between the UK’s current capacity and the sheer volume of work needed to retrofit homes, install heat pumps and achieve zero carbon by 2050.

‘Pioneering organisations are showing how communities, councils and social enterprises can meet the challenge, but it needs also long-term government action to incentivise a large-scale, national, roll out to build and retrofit greener. In the run up to COP the government can show true leadership. It’s good for the climate and good for decent jobs and skills, boosting the economy.’

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