Minister Says Heat Pump Grant Is "First Step" To Green Homes But It Could Take 15 Years To Phase Out Gas
The £5,000 grant will help homeowners cover the cost of installing a new heat pump
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has suggested the replacement of gas boilers could take as long as 15 years as she defended a scheme to subsidise heat pumps as a "fantastic first step".
Homeowners in England and Wales will be offered £5,000 from next April to help cover the cost of replacing gas boilers with heat pumps in a bid to reduce the UK's carbon emissions, ministers have announced.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the fund would help homeowners "make the switch sooner, without costing them extra so that going green is the better choice when their boiler needs an upgrade".
Ministers claim the £450m fund will help offset the cost of the more expensive heat pumps which currently cost between £6,000 to £18,000 to install depending on the size of the property.
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Trevelyan said the "fantastic first step" would help homeowners make the change over the next three years, claiming the shift towards the new technology would help drive down the cost of replacing gas boilers.
"The key point is that this is a journey, it is going to take us probably 15 years for all of us to do that," she said.
"At the moment, the cost of heat pumps is relatively high, but of course, that is because they are not made in great volumes. As we know in all things as the volume increase then the price comes down."She suggested the switch to the new tech could become mandatory, as she said while the current scheme was "voluntary" that there would be "a point at which that changes".
"In the short term of course this is a voluntary scheme," she said.
"But every 10-15 years we all get a new boiler so as part of the transition, this journey to net-zero, as we as domestic citizens make changes to our homes these support frameworks are there but also we will be driving those changes in regulation."
Her comments come after Boris Johnson appeared to rule out the replacement becoming a mandatory measures for homeowners, telling the Sun that "the Greenshirts of the Boiler Police are not going to kick in your door with their sandal-clad feet and seize, at carrot-point, your trusty old combi".
The scheme has already faced criticism from oppostion MPs, with the Green Party's Caroline Lucas highlighting that the fund will only cover around 90,000 homes over the next three years.
"Promises that in the future heat pumps will cost no more than gas boilers just doesn't cut it," she said.
"We can't wait til 2030 to get costs down – we need larger grants and major insulation plan now.
"Yet another climate plan that's underfunded and will under-deliver."
Shadow business and energy secretary, Ed Miliband, said the plans were "more of Boris Johnson's hot air".
“As millions of families face an energy and cost of living crisis, this is a meagre, unambitious and wholly inadequate response. People can’t warm their homes with yet more of Boris Johnson’s hot air, but that is all that is on offer," he said.
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