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Watering down

Watering down

The watering down of the Prime Minister’s net zero commitments have left many fearing the Government’s green credentials have adopted more of a pastel shade.


Changes include the deadline for a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars moving from 2030 to 2035 and the ban on oil and gas household boilers being delayed from 2026 to 2035.

But it wasn’t all bad news on the green future front.


In the same state of the net zero nation speech, Mr Sunak announced a 50% boost to the money available through the Boiler Upgrade Grant to help people afford heat pumps..

There are currently 60,000 domestic heat pumps installed a year in the UK with the Government aiming to increase that tenfold by 2028.


The voucher scheme run by the Government had offered £5,000 towards the cost of installing an air source heat pumps and £6,000 for ground source ones but this has now been boosted to £7,500.

This grant, combined with the falling price of heat pumps, suggests we have now reached a tipping point where pumps are cheaper to buy and install than gas boilers.


Meanwhile, research by Oxford University and the Regulatory Assistance Project think tank has found that at temperatures below zero heat pumps are up to three times more efficient than oil and gas heating systems. Oil and gas boilers have an efficiency of less than one whilst a decent heat pump installed correctly should have an SCOP efficiency of over 4.


Published in the energy research journal Joule, the study was carried out across North America, Europe and Asia and dispels any doubts that the devices don’t work well in the sub-zero depths of winter.

We’ve all heard the adage about lies, damn lies and statistics so it’s worth remembering what the purpose of net zero is.

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement 197 countries, including the UK, agreed that in order to avoid catastrophic climate changes, global temperature rises should be limited to a maximum of 1.5C by 2100.

With greenhouse gases a major contributor to global warming, the target of being net zero by 2050 – so not adding to those gases in the atmosphere – is seen as key.

Greenhouse gases include methane which is produced through farming and landfill and carbon dioxide, which is released when oil, gas and coal are burned in homes, factories and to power transport.

With household boilers amongst the biggest contributors to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions the Government has identified the switch to heat pumps as essential if net zero targets are to be reached.

And we are on board with that!


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