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Category: government and politics

The government has released data which states that heat pump applications are up by almost 50 per cent, whilst national press reports state that Rishi Sunak is going to scrap plans to fuel their use.

Applications to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, open to both domestic households and landlords, were up 49 per cent in December 2023 from last year’s figure. The government cite that the scheme is ‘one of the most generous of its kind in Europe’, offering grants of £7500 towards the cost of a heat pump.

For landlords, this offer is likely to have held more significance when tightened Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) targets were on the cards, but since Sunak scrapped those plans at the tail end of last year, pressure on landlords to upgrade their properties has somewhat lifted.

Confusion as PM rumoured to scrap heat pumps plans

Celebrating the increase in heat pump applications feels at odds with reports in the press that the Prime Minister is set to scrap plans for heat pumps.

April 2024 was due to mark the start of a scheme that would require boiler companies to meet a minimum sales quota for heat pumps (four percent of units sold). Failure to meet the target was even set to come with a fine of three thousand pounds for every unit a company fell short of the target.

Energy Security Secretary, Claire Coutinho, commented on the figures:

We recently made our Boiler Upgrade Scheme one of the most generous schemes in Europe. Applications are now up by nearly 50% compared to last year.

Helping people, rather than forcing them, to make the right choices for their homes will always be my priority.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, spoke of targets to reach net zero:

These figures show more people want the cleaner heating and more stable bills you get with a heat pump.

Our approach to reaching net zero works and because of increased heat pump grants, there’s never been a better time to make the switch.

Despite the sentiment expressed by Lord Callahan, the press reports on a potential ditching of the plans, just one of the latest green policies abandoned by the Tories.

Labour too announced, on 8th February, that they are making a U-turn on prior intentions to spend £28 billion on Green Energy. The party faces heavy criticism as a result, with wider global news shows that global warming has exceeded a 1.5C temperature rise for an entire year.

Impact on landlords

Given Labour look strong in the polls, it was debated at the time of Sunak’s scrapping of EPC targets whether the move would be turned on its head, if Labour won the election. However, Labour’s scrapping of their Green Energy plans might infer that landlords could be safe from any reversal on EPC targets.

Landlord views on heat pumps specifically seem mixed, some saying they would let tenants decide what they want, others expressing significant concern at the cost and actual benefit of heat pump technology.

Other voices questioned the significance of the applications figure, querying how many actual installations had gone ahead.