Minister hints at ban on gas boilers but says market should lead to change | Energy

Gas boilers could be banned in the future, but the government believes the market should lead to changes in home heating systems, cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, amid criticism of the subsidy system limited for heat pumps.

Ministers had been pressured to set a date to ban the installation of new gas boilers in existing homes, but announced on Tuesday that the installation of low-carbon heat pumps would be encouraged with a subsidy system of £ 5,000 for up to 90,000 homes in England. and Wales.

The grant would make installing a similar cost to a new gas boiler, but environmental activists said the move would expand the greener system to a tiny proportion of homes and does not set a date for a ban complete.

Speaking on Tuesday as the government launched its heating and building strategy, one of many announcements ahead of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, Trevelyan hinted that the installation of new gas boilers would be banned in the ‘to come up.

“In the short term, yes of course this is a voluntary program … There will be a time when that will change but, yes, for now it is,” she told Sky News.

The international trade secretary said she believes the market will eventually change to make greener change more affordable. “At the moment, we are encouraging the market to drive these changes,” she told the BBC.

“What we are already seeing are energy companies already getting started, not only providing us with energy, but encouraging their customers to switch to heat pumps and looking for ways to do that; your energy supplier will be part of this solution.

“In 10 years, we want to look back and think that we have actually made a difference as individuals, because it is as important as the big things like offshore wind turbines and nuclear power plants.

The full strategy is expected to be released on Tuesday and will include measures totaling £ 3.9bn to decarbonize buildings and how they are heated, with a confirmed target in 2035 for all new heating systems in UK homes to be energy efficient. energy.

Caroline Jones of Greenpeace UK said efforts to decarbonize housing were hampered by unambitious policies and inadequate funding. She said: “More money needs to be provided to rapidly increase the number of homeowners switching to heat pumps over the next few years, with full costs covered for low-income families.

“A clearer signal would have been a phasing out of new boilers by 2035. And all of this must come with a fully funded national program to insulate our homes at a scale and at a rate the government has not fully understood.”

Under the plans, which the minister said would support up to 240,000 jobs by 2035, the £ 5,000 grants will be available from April next year and are expected to eliminate any price difference for heat pumps or similar systems. The plan suggests that as the market grows, the price of these systems is expected to drop by a quarter to a half by 2025.

The wider £ 3.9bn funding for greening homes will be targeted through a range of existing programs, with others targeting public buildings.

Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said it was a “lean, unambitious and totally inadequate response.”

He added: ‘Families across the country were in desperate need of Labor’s 10-year plan investing £ 6bn per year in house insulation and zero-carbon heating to cut their bills by £ 400 per year. year, improve our energy security, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. “

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