New boiler ban within 14 years: Gas-powered water heaters will face veto in climate change fight

Gas boilers will be banned within 14 years under the Government’s plans to tackle climate change.

Ministers are discussing a cut-off date of 2035, after which the installation of conventional gas boilers will be outlawed.

The target date, to be included in a new Heat and Buildings Strategy next month, comes amid growing concern about the impact of domestic heating systems on the UK’s carbon emissions.

Under one proposal designed to accelerate take-up, homeowners could be required to switch to a ‘green’ heating system in order to sell their house.

Another idea could see a surcharge on gas boilers in order to subsidise the production of greener heat pumps. Oil-fired systems will also be phased out and there will be another push to insulate homes.

A source said the Government had ruled out the idea of fining those who refuse to get rid of their gas boiler.

The 2035 target date will dismay hardline climate change campaigners, who argue that much swifter action is needed. But ministers fear a consumer backlash if they move faster.

Eco-friendly heat pumps, which extract warmth from the ground or air, can cost more than £10,000 to install. There are concerns that some may struggle to provide enough heat to keep the UK’s draughty housing stock warm.

A Whitehall source told the Mail: ‘There are people calling for a ban in 2025, but that is just ridiculous. We have to take people with us. Setting a target date is the right way to drive change.

‘But it has to be affordable and practical and that means doing it over a reasonable timescale to give time for technology to improve and get cheaper.’

Tory former minister Steve Baker warned that the move could spark consumer anger. He said: ‘The policy elite have persuaded themselves there is a consensus for net zero without anyone bothering to explain the implications to the public.

‘When people do work out the cost and impact on their lives there is going to be a huge backlash. If we go down the road of forcing people to replace their boiler at a cost of thousands of pounds it will make the cladding scandal look like a walk in the park.’

Tory former minister Steve Baker, pictured, warned that the move could spark consumer anger

Tory former minister Steve Baker, pictured, warned that the move could spark consumer anger

Tory former minister Steve Baker, pictured, warned that the move could spark consumer anger

Gas boilers are already due to be banned from new homes by 2025. But ministers fear the process of removing them from around 25million existing homes will take another decade. Traditional boilers are seen as one of the biggest barriers to the UK’s target of achieving ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 – meaning greenhouse gas emissions would be dramatically slashed and any remaining emissions offset, slowing climate change.

Gas boilers are estimated to account for about one tonne in every seven of the carbon dioxide produced by the UK each year. The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government, last year said they should be banned from 2033.

The independent body said replacement boilers should only be permitted from 2025 if they were capable of using hydrogen.

Privately, ministers warn that the UK is not ready for an overnight transformation. Around 85 per cent of homes currently rely on gas for heating.

Some boilers could be converted to run on hydrogen but this is unlikely to account for more than ten per cent of the total due to supply constraints.

A Whitehall source ruled out fining those who do not switch.

Experts stressed there was a huge amount of work to be done before gas boilers could be replaced across the board. Peter Thom, of Cambridge-based energy efficiency specialist Green Heat, said he feared the change may ‘scare the public to death’.

He said: ‘They will be thinking, “Where am I going to get £15,000 for a heat pump?” They don’t work unless you insulate your home, and any house built before the Second World War isn’t well-insulated and probably can’t be. The headlines are good, but the substance isn’t there.’

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