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Government announces £5k grants for Heat pumps


The long awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy for England and Wales was launched with some highlights late last night. The strategy will establish plans for how the UK will reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and achieve huge reduction in carbon emissions.

It comes as no surprise that we are beginning to learn more about the government’s plans to decarbonise heat in buildings, as we approach the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which is due to take place in early November.

It should be said that we still await the full strategy document, however, a press release published late last night by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), highlighted plans for homeowners in England & Wales to be offered subsidies of £5,000 from next April to help them to replace old gas boilers with heat pumps. This £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, is part of a larger pledge of £3.9bn which government will use to reduce carbon emissions from homes and all other buildings. The government hopes this subsidy will put the cost of a heat pump level with the cost of a replacement boiler.

Based on the above information, this would mean that the £450m allocated for 3 years in this subsidy will likely cover a maximum of 90,000 heat pumps (30,000 per annum); clearly far short of the Governments target for 600,000 a year by 2028.

The government’s new target is for all new heating systems installed in UK homes by 2035 to be either using low-carbon technologies, such as electric heat pumps, or supporting new technologies like hydrogen-ready boilers, where they are confident they can supply clean, green fuel.

The majority of the £3.9bn however is being targeted at public buildings, insulating and installing new heating systems in social housing, and for those on low incomes, and also at heat networks for homes not suitable for heat pump technology.

Elmhurst’s Managing Director, Stuart Fairlie, comments: “We clearly welcome the announcement of this long overdue strategy, the numbers mentioned are just a start, the main message that we hope for is that this policy doesn’t become another ‘silod’ measure. It must be seen on a much bigger scale, all homes and buildings in the UK, need to use ‘less energy’ for heating/hot water, and running them. To do this a whole building approach must be used, simply sticking heat pumps, or using hydrogen ready boilers into existing homes is not the only answer, the fabric and ventilation must be upgraded to ensure that the home/business runs efficiently and healthily for the occupants. If we are to be successful as a nation in the race to net zero, we must get the overall strategy right. We hope the strategy document gives more detail of how this will work.”

More info: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plan-to-drive-down-the-cost-of-clean-heat

Please note that the full Heat and Buildings Strategy has now been released: