Experts are already warning of shortcomings in the government’s latest Green initiative, banning new boilers from 2035 and offering £5,000 grants towards the installation of heat pump alternatives.
Landlords, as well as owner occupiers, are entitled to the £5,000 grants which will become available from April next year; initially this is aimed at driving up the volume of heat pumps being manufactured and fitted, aiming to reduce their costs which are estimated at up to £16,000 each.
David Adams, spokesperson for the Green Stamp Duty Incentive Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, says: “Whilst support for the installation of circa 30,000 per annum heat pumps for the next three years is welcome …. we must see bolder measures than those outlined today.
“The current issues facing the retrofit market – the lack of accredited installers, patchy nationwide provision of green measures and the skills gap – are rooted in an uncertainty around the market’s longevity born out of the grant-driven boom-bust past history.
“Without also instigating a long-term driver of demand, the progress made through this boiler upgrade scheme will collapse again when the three years are up. We mustn’t repeat the experience of the past insulation and photo voltaic programmes which didn’t produce a lasting legacy of delivery capability and where home retrofit has returned to a niche activity.”
Adams’ group, which advocates a stamp duty incentive for landlords and owners to retrofit energy efficient devices, has recently claimed that research shows only one in six people are planning to improve the energy efficiency of their home over the next five years.
And Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove, says there £5,000 sounds ambitious but it’s simply not sufficient.
“You just have to look at the poorly thought out Green Homes Grant which left administration costs of over £1,000 for some homeowners according to the National Audit Office. For many low-income families, this sum is extremely damaging and sees just how poorly thought out and underfunded these schemes have been" he claims.
“Furthermore, the current energy crisis has starkly demonstrated just how lagging the UK is on future-proofing homes from fossil-fuel dependency. Unfortunately, the lack of government investment in insulation and heat-pump technology means the UK has some of the oldest and leakiest housing stock in Western Europe.
“The initiative of these efforts to future proof homes is a step in the right direction for the government. However, a concise roadmap to phase out new boilers out by 2035, with significant funding would have been much more effective.”
Independent climate think tank E3G says the 2035 phase-out date for new fossil fuel boilers is "a world-leading achievement" but that the funding offered by the government is insufficient.
"On energy efficiency alone, the public investment announced today falls £2bn short of what was pledged in the Conservative manifesto to 2025" says a spokesman.
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