The government must support its heat and buildings strategy with “clear delivery”, according to the industry.
The government this week announced its heat and buildings strategy, which sets out its plan to “significantly cut carbon emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces in a simple, low-cost and green way while ensuring this remains affordable and fair”. Proposals included a £3.9 billion package, of which £450 million will be spent on grants subsidising the upfront cost of heat pumps for homes.
It said it "will be a gradual transition which will start by incentivising consumers and driving down costs”.
Matthew Fell, chief policy director at the CBI, said: “£5,000 heat pump grants will help get the ball rolling when it comes to decarbonising homes across the UK. The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy provides a golden opportunity for both the public and private sector to pick up the pace of progress to net zero.
“There’s no doubt that the scale of the challenge is considerable. These welcome measures – including the 2035 phase-out of new gas boilers – will help consumers and business to better prepare to change the way they heat their homes and buildings.
“Government must now support this valuable work with a clear delivery plan for consumers, businesses and local authorities. The time is now to accelerate low-carbon heat and energy-efficiency solutions, grow the number of green jobs across the UK, and further support the government’s net-zero ambitions”.
Others think the plans are too limited. Steve McGregor, group managing director at property services specialist DMA Group, said: “Whilst we welcome any announcement that provides funding for householders to install low-carbon heating, I’m afraid this scheme doesn’t go far enough. A proposed £5,000 installation grant isn’t sufficient to bridge the cost gap between gas boilers and heat pumps.
"We clearly need to fulfil the ambition of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and part of that is improving heating systems in homes and other buildings. What is important to remember is that homeowners will also need to significantly upgrade their insulation as heat pumps aren’t as instantaneous as boilers when it comes to heating homes.
"For older houses insulation standards will also need to be materially improved to support heat pump performance. As with any new initiative, I also urge people to proceed cautiously because of the very real risk of new market entrants possessing subgrade kit. We see this happen in other markets and with a long lead time for heat pump kits, homeowners might be wrongly swayed by those installing replacements that may not be as economical in the long term. We are clearly paving the way for a second green industrial revolution in the UK, and I hope the government also considers other initiatives, such as green technology loans for businesses or further backing for green banks to create a truly greener, safer environment for generations to come.”