Proposed Amendments to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The government has published a consultation on proposed amendments to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme Regulations. The consultation seeks views from industry stakeholders on several proposed changes and closes at 11.59pm on 12th October.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme was introduced in 2022 to support the decarbonisation of heat in buildings. Under the scheme, individuals in England and Wales can benefit from upfront capital grants, which reduce the installation cost of heat pumps and bio mass boilers.
Those who successfully apply for the scheme will receive either £5,000 towards the cost of installing an air source heat pump or a biomass boiler or £6,000 towards the installation of a ground source heat pump.
Since its launch, the scheme has delivered £65 million amount of grants, with 1,098 installers registered on the scheme.
Current Eligibility Requirements
Most homeowners, small landlords and private landlords in England and Wales can apply for a grant.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is also applicable to homes and smaller non-domestic buildings, but does not include social housing properties and most new builds (certain exemptions are in place for self-builds).
In order for the property to be eligible, it will need to have:
- an installation capacity up to 45kWth (this covers most homes).
- a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
New Consultation and Proposed Changes
The new consultation sets out several proposed amendments to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme based on industry and consumer feedback since the scheme began. The consultation seeks views on:
- Whether the scheme should be able to differentiate grant levels in different circumstances.
At present, any specific differentiation for certain property types, existing fuel source or property owners would require a change to the regulations. The consultation is seeking views on whether the scheme should allow a variation of grant levels to differentiate between different types of property, existing fuel source, and/or property owner.
- Whether the scheme should retain or amend the existing EPC requirements, with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
At present, an eligible property is required to have a valid EPC (less than 10 years old) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. The consultation is seeking views on whether properties with outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation should be eligible, provided that a new EPC is submitted as evidence that the insulation has been installed.
The consultation also outlines a current lack of clarity on whether it is the requirement to have a valid EPC that is considered a barrier for consumers or whether it is the specific requirement to have no outstanding recommendations relating to loft or cavity wall insulation. For this reason, the consultation seeks a view on other potential changes that would ease the consumer journey without risking heat pumps being installed in unsuitable properties.
- Whether the scheme should allow biomass boilers with a cooking function to be eligible.
At present, biomass boilers are eligible under the scheme if they comply with a set of technology specific criteria. The consultation is seeking views on whether to amend the regulations to allow for biomass boilers to be eligible if they have a cooking function, provided that function is integrated and cannot be controlled separately.
Elmhurst’s Existing Dwellings Manager, Damien Roberts, comments:
“We support the government’s continued investment and dedication in embracing low carbon heating systems, recognising their importance in reducing environmental impact. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to emphasise that harnessing the full potential of these new heating systems necessitates adopting a ‘fabric first’ approach. Ensuring the EPC is at the heart of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme process, pre and post, will maintain consumer protection and effective proof in the pudding.”
Elmhurst will respond to the consultation shortly.
To view or respond to the consultation, please click the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-amendments-to-the-boiler-upgrade-scheme-regulations
The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 12 October 2023.