Just over half of UK adults – 54% – lack confidence that that the government can cut emissions to reach Net Zero by 2050. Almost one in five, or 19%, think the UK will never achieve the goal.

The findings come as the UK’s biggest supplier of domestic and business energy today launched its mass market research study, tracking consumers’ evolving attitudes to the nation’s 2050 aspiration.

British Gas’ Net Zero Homes Index seeks to track how home-owners view the little understood government commitment,  and gauge their readiness to make room for it in  their lifestyles and budgets.

The Centrica subsidiary’s business energy supply unit has also set up a team to help enterprise customers along the path to the zero-carbon goal.

Intended for updates every six months, today’s first results from BG’s Home Index define a starting point depicting public perceptions of Net Zero.    Britain became the world’s first economy to embrace the target when it wrote it into law in June 2019.

Polling company Public First surveyed 4,008 adults online in June 2022, taking care to reflect Britain’s population accurately according to age, gender, region and social grade.

First findings, released today, include

  • Across Britain’s population, climate change ranks fourth in bill-payers’ concerns facing the country, after the cost of living, the economy and the NHS. For younger consumers, climate change is as high as second.
  • A whisker over half of respondents – 51% – say they’re more likely to step up home insulation and energy efficiency products in the next twelve months, as a result of higher energy prices
  • Only 14% said they would choose a heat pump to replace their existing boiler

From the results, British Gas’ analysts assign a notional value of 57.1 out of 100 for the nation’s enthusiasm towards Net Zero.

The goal commands widespread awareness but limited understanding, pollsters found. When Net Zero was explained, 71% of the public agreed that it was the right thing to do.

On average, people believe that the UK will reach Net Zero closer to 2075 rather than 2050.

When the fieldwork was taking place, respondents ranked climate change as more important than immigration, taxation, housing or Brexit.

More than three quarters (78%) said they were willing to make changes in their homes to tackle climate change. Among homeowners, almost half  – 48% –  said they were willing to install improved insulation in the next two years. 42% said they’d be willing to install solar panels.

Electric vehicles drew support. Over one in three consumers, or 35% across the nation, are willing to install an EV charger at home. The figure is higher in cities.

Low carbon heating leaves potential buyers confused. When asked what they would replace their existing boiler with, 37% said a similar gas or oil-fired boiler and only 14% said they’d choose a heat pump. The majority of responses (38%) said they didn’t know what they would choose.

One in five is pessimistic enough to believe the UK can do nothing to stop climate change.

But 87% of the public say they support building more solar generation. 84% support more offshore wind and 81% support more onshore wind. New nuclear was more controversial, with only 48% support.

For enterprise users of energy, British Gas is launching a new Net Zero business unit, tasked to support customers in becoming more energy efficient.

British Gas’ workforce of 7,000 engineers, the nation’s largest in heating, is trusted by around 53% of the population, the Index found.

The company is currently offering heat pumps for £4,999, expecting to install 1,500 in the next year in a mix of private homes and social housing.  It says its Hive smart thermostat product is now in almost 2 million homes, achieving average savings of £311 per household.

Andrew Middleton, managing director of British Gas Net Zero said: “We hope that this index will help to measure changing attitudes over time and understand how people are feeling about choices in the lead up to the Net Zero target, particularly in light of these difficult economic times.


  1. If 19% of UK adults think the UK will never achieve net zero then they either don’t know the meaning of never or the meaning of finite fossil fuels.

    Fortunately, in my opinion, by 2050 solar and other renewables will be completely taken for granted and gas, oil and coal would have gone the same way as smoking in planes (or other such analogy of something once common place that seems unbelievable now!).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here