UK scheme to spur take-up of heat pumps delayed after gas lobby pressure

(The Guardian, 14 Mar 2024) Mechanism is vital to boost the ‘only viable option’ to decarbonise emissions from heating homes, says green charity.

The government has delayed by a year its scheme for spurring the take-up of heat pumps, under pressure from the gas boiler industry.

The clean heat market mechanism is intended to force heating installers to fit more low-carbon heat pumps, to meet the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and save energy.

But the scheme – which requires companies to install a gradually increasing proportion of heat pumps compared with the number of gas boiler installations or face a financial penalty – was inaccurately described as a “boiler tax” by gas heating companies and their lobbyists. Some boiler companies put their prices up by £120, which they said was in reaction to the potential scheme, but which one government insider told the Guardian was unfair price “gouging”.

The mechanism was due to come in this April but has been delayed to April 2025, the government said on Thursday. The energy secretary, Claire Coutinho, has also asked the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate the boiler market.

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The Guardian, 14 Mar 2024: UK scheme to spur take-up of heat pumps delayed after gas lobby pressure