MPs support renewable home heating ‘revolution’

Poll reveals broad cross-party support for small-scale heating technology and dissatisfaction with government efforts so far

Harry Cockburn
Environment Correspondent
Monday 29 November 2021 17:31
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<p>There is broad support among MPs for greater levels of small-scale renewable home heating technologies</p>

There is broad support among MPs for greater levels of small-scale renewable home heating technologies

There is cross-party support for stronger government policy and increased funding for renewable heating technologies for new and existing homes to help the UK hit net zero targets, a poll has found.

A YouGov survey of 100 Labour and Conservative MPs found more than half, 56 per cent, believed the government must make it a priority for the UK’s 29 million existing homes to have a green energy retrofit.

Meanwhile more than three quarters, 77 per cent, said they think small-scale renewables, such as photovoltaic solar panels, thermal solar panels and heat pumps should be incorporated into all new build properties from next year.

Of these, 37 per cent said they strongly agreed with the proposal, while 40 per cent said they somewhat agree. Nine per cent were undecided, and eight per cent said they disagreed with the proposal, while the remaining 6 per cent said they didn’t know.

However, there was a split in the level of support, with 83 per cent of Labour MPs polled saying they would support new builds with small-scale renewables from next year, while 68 per cent of Tory MPs said they would support such a policy.

Fewer than half of the MPs questioned said they thought the government is doing enough to meet net-zero targets and there was also broad support for new regulations requiring all new homes to meet this standard by 2023.

Currently, 20 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions are produced by the existing housing stock, with the pollution mainly coming from gas boilers.

This domestic usage, combined with old draughty housing stock, means emissions from homes are increasing, resulting in a long awaited ban on the installation of new gas boilers from 2035. To meet the UN carbon emissions targets, homes must be retrofitted with renewable heat technology at a rate of nearly two per minute up to 2050, according to the Committee on Climate Change.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by the MCS Charitable Foundation – which focuses on renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

David Cowdrey, director of external affairs at MCS, said: “If the government is serious about meeting emissions reduction targets, the decarbonisation of our current and future homes must urgently move up the political agenda, backed by robust legislation.

“Less than half of the MPs polled believe the government is delivering on this, sending a clear message that they need to take decisive action, with the Treasury committing funding, to accelerate the home heating revolution.”

The survey findings follow the recent publication of the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, which outlined the government’s “confirmed ambition for all new heating systems installed in UK homes from 2035 to be low carbon”.

The government has outlined a £450m finance package to support the installation of up to 30,000 heat pumps a year.

But the funding and timescale fall far short of the level required for heat pump sector growth to meet the government target of 600,000 annual installations by 2028.

Mr Cowdrey added: “Following COP26, home decarbonisation should be a top government priority. Banning all fossil fuel heating from new homes by December 2023 and investing in a green heating future can cause a ripple effect. It’s good for the economy and the environment. Boosting green skills will also create thousands of new jobs with people trained to future proof the way we heat our homes.”

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