Following the Prime Minister’s speech on net zero commitments, Jeff House, External Affairs & Policy Director at Baxi, explains what is needed next to continue momentum to decarbonising heat.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to improving the Boiler Upgrade Scheme by increasing the total grant to £7,500. As a manufacturer supplying multiple heating technologies including air source heat pumps, we have always been clear that consumer choice is paramount. We need to bring the public with us on a decarbonisation journey and driving consumer demand is a key requirement for developing the heat pump market in the UK. By increasing the grant, we hope that more homeowners will be encouraged to make the switch to heat pumps over the coming years as we see the market continue to grow.
“What has not been addressed, however, is the critical skills challenge that faces our industry. We still need to focus on bringing installers with us on this journey towards a greater adoption of heat pumps, so helping both heating engineers and their customers to become more comfortable with the technology is vital. We must also encourage more talent into the industry to grow the number of installers required to reach the installation targets that remain in place.
“Baxi has been working with the government on the Heat Training Grant, which provides installers with £500 towards heat pump training. This is a great starting point for encouraging installers to add heat pump installation to their offering. Manufacturers must continue to work with government to create policy and incentives that continue to grow the number of heat pump installers in the UK.
“As a company with a wealth of knowledge and expertise from our European parent company, we believe the government has missed a trick with not including tacit support for hybrid heat pump systems as part of this announcement. The technology offers a simpler route to heat pump integration for many types of homes and has been successful in European countries through local incentive schemes. We need clear policy support to bring them into the mainstream as a strategic stepping stone towards the 600,000 annual market ambition and can work with government to make this a reality in the UK.
“Manufacturers and government must continue to work closely to ensure there is a robust supply chain for all forms of low carbon heat as we move towards the expected phase out of new fossil fuel boiler installations from 2035.
“There are still questions to resolve, including overall budget for the boiler upgrade scheme and how exemptions for 20% of homes from a boiler sales ban, as cited in the Prime Minister’s speech will work in practice. If government works with industry to focus on addressing skills and the low carbon heat supply chain, we will continue to make positive steps towards decarbonising heat and reaching net zero.”
For more information on heat decarbonisation, click here.
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