Response continues to run cold to the government’s £450 million drive to upgrade boilers to biomass working in Britain’s homes or install heat pumps, installers’ representatives claim.
Three months after now disgraced premier Johnson prioritised air- and ground-sourced low carbon heat or hi-spec boilers, customer enquiries after the technologies have fallen, not risen, the Ground Source Heat Pump Association reports today.
Completed installations show no uptick either, despite the scheme’s incentive of up to £6,000 to householders and small businesses installing ground-sourced devices, free of VAT.
The GSHPA surveyed its national membership among system designers, contractors and installers about levels of current business and their outlook for the future.
“The results from our members are stark”, GSHPA chair Laura Bishop said.
“Despite the Government wanting to see a faster take-up of heat pumps installations, 62% of our members have seen a drop in customer enquiries for individual heat pump installations, with a direct impact on turnover.
“86% of our members feel that the heat pump is less investible than a year ago.”
“Three months in, it does not appear that the Government’s heralded Boiler Upgrade Scheme is having the desired effect on heat pump deployment. (It is) certainly no replacement for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive”.
Pictured above, government minister Lord Callanan, left, examines output from Octopus’ newly acquired heat pump business in northern Ireland.
Promoting environmental benefits
Bishop called for further measures to kick-start the heat pump market.
Lifting environmental levies chargeable to electricity used by heat pumps, more generous grants for the devices, and for home insulation, plus advancing the sales of natural gas boilers earlier than the planned 2035, are all on the GSHPA’s menu.
“There is no time to argue and dither anymore”, Bishop opined”, “if the UK is to decarbonise heat … as part of our journey to reach Net Zero.
“We must do more to promote the environmental and economic benefits of low-carbon ground-source heat pumps to industrial and business customers as well as domestic customers up and down the country.”
She called for a unified effort by politicians, regulator OFGEM, industry and consumer organisations to communicate the benefits and practicalities of switching away from gas boilers to low-carbon heating, including ground-source heat pumps.”
OFGEM’s latest numbers covering the five weeks to 30 June are that under the scheme 857 upgrade vouchers were issued for sub-45kWth heat pumps, either air- or ground-sourced, and biomass boilers. Ove the same period 169 vouchers were redeemed.
An IPSOS international survey conducted before Earth Day in April found that Britons are second worst in the world – ahead of only the Japanese among 31 nations – in contemplating stripping out carbon-emitting home heating.
Only 28% of Brits are prepared to contemplate changing our outdated burners to fight the climate catastrophe, the international poll revealed.