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Lords committee say Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme is failing

An inquiry into the Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) by The Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee has found that it is failing to deliver on its objectives, following a disappointingly poor take-up. 

The scheme was launched in April 2022 in order to move people away from  fossil fuel heating systems, offering £5,000 towards an air source heat pump, £6,000 towards a ground source heat pump and £5,000 towards a biomass boiler, setting a target of 600,000 installations per year by 2028. As things stand, the take-up rate is so slow that it will only use half the allocated budget. The committee also observed that 80 per cent of people still have little or no awareness of air source heat pumps.

The key findings of the report were:

  • public awareness of low-carbon heating systems is very limited, and promotion of the BUS has been inadequate
  • there is a shortage of heat-pump installers & insufficient independent advice for homeowners
  • Hydrogen is not a serious option for home heating for the short to medium-term and misleading messages, including from the Government, are negatively affecting take-up of established low-carbon home heating technologies like heat pumps
  • upfront costs are too high for many households, even with the help of the grant, making it impossible for low-income households to benefit from the scheme
  • while heat pump running costs are becoming competitive with gas boilers in some modelling, progress is urgently needed through electricity market reform to ensure running costs are affordable.

Baroness Parminter, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said: ‘The transition to low-carbon heat is fundamental in the path to net zero, given that 17% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes.

‘The Government must quickly address the barriers we have identified to a successful take-up of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in order to help grow the take up of low-carbon heating systems. It is vital they do so if we are going to meet our Net Zero ambitions.’

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Bernie
Bernie
1 year ago

Completely agree with the lack of independent advice. I am really interested in getting an air source heat pump and would love to run it with some solar to reduce my carbon footprint, but really need independent advice before that sort of outlay.
Wish there was a third sector organisation able to give free advice.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Heat pumps are very unreliable my 3 bedroom semi is freezing , I am getting new gas heating as its much better and this net Zero is a joke with China operating and opening many many more coal fired powerstations pumping tons of CO2 out , If Britain ever gets to net zero it will be in vain as more and more countries are going back to coal!

chris
chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Our heat pump works very well and we didn’t need to put in larger radiators (but house already has good insulation which must help). There’s one big box indoors, the size of our old gas boiler on the wall, a pump machine in the cupboard below, and an installation outside (like the one shown) but upright like a large fridge. And all the pipe/cable work between. It has been running well for a few years already. It was quite pricey but doesn’t use an excessive amount of electricity for start-up. But I suppose it depends on how hot you want your home? Our heat pump (air source) also provides very hot water for the bathroom and we’ve added solar panels. We were happy with our old gas system before we moved but for a variety of reasons that wasn’t suitable in our new home. We can’t have either wood/biomass or oil for health reasons. I think heat pumps are the future but I wish the cost could come down and I can see they will not be easy to fit in every home, particulalry terraced houses or flats. You get used to the whirring noise and we think that’s preferable to oil fumes or smoke in the air. Don’t know about biomass boilers. Do those emit air pollution (particulates) or not? Perhaps not a good idea anyway because the pellets migjht not come from a sustainable source (how would anyone know?). Better to leave the trees in the ground, I think. Plant more, and let them all mature and then decay naturally. Like that they can absorb C02 for very many years..

Larry Holzgang
Larry Holzgang
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

If your home is freezing, it is probably a design problem and not a technology problem. I helped my elderly parents install a heat pump, and they easily keep their home up to 75 F. all winter. I heat my home to 68 F, so I’m uncomfortably warm when I visit my parents.

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