Government backs down on gas boiler fines after Steve Baker warns of consumer revolt
The Government has ruled out the idea of fining those who refuse to get rid of their gas boiler.
Gas boilers will be banned within 14 years under the Government’s plans to tackle climate change.
Ministers are discussing a cut-off date of 2035, after which the installation of conventional gas boilers will be outlawed.
The target date, to be included in a new Heat and Buildings Strategy next month, comes amid growing concern about the impact of domestic heating systems on the UK’s carbon emissions.
Under one proposal designed to accelerate take-up, homeowners could be required to switch to a ‘green’ heating system in order to sell their house.
Another idea could see a surcharge on gas boilers in order to subsidise the production of greener heat pumps. Oil-fired systems will also be phased out and there will be another push to insulate homes.
If hydrogen is part of a zero-carbon future, it could have to be produced by electrolysis (as shown above), which sees electric currents passed through water. Another option is for the plants to capture the carbon emissions and pump them underground
A source said the Government had ruled out the idea of fining those who refuse to get rid of their gas boiler.
The 2035 target date will dismay hardline climate change campaigners, who argue that much swifter action is needed. But ministers fear a consumer backlash if they move faster.
Eco-friendly heat pumps, which extract warmth from the ground or air, can cost more than £10,000 to install. There are concerns that some may struggle to provide enough heat to keep the UK’s draughty housing stock warm.
A Whitehall source told the Mail: ‘There are people calling for a ban in 2025, but that is just ridiculous. We have to take people with us. Setting a target date is the right way to drive change.
‘But it has to be affordable and practical and that means doing it over a reasonable timescale to give time for technology to improve and get cheaper.’
Tory former minister Steve Baker warned that the move could spark consumer anger. He said:
The policy elite have persuaded themselves there is a consensus for net zero without anyone bothering to explain the implications to the public.
‘When people do work out the cost and impact on their lives there is going to be a huge backlash. If we go down the road of forcing people to replace their boiler at a cost of thousands of pounds it will make the cladding scandal look like a walk in the park.’
Privately, ministers warn that the UK is not ready for an overnight transformation. Around 85 per cent of homes currently rely on gas for heating.