The government will effectively ban new gas boilers in the next 10 to 15 years, according to a white paper released on 14 December.
The move is aimed at reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and meeting the climate agreement targets set for 2050.
Low-carbon alternatives to gas boilers, like heat pumps and hydrogen boilers, will be needed to replace them. However, it is thought that these energy efficient solutions could be more costly to run for households, and may not be suited to all types of housing stock.
Who will be affected?
It is estimated that around 1.7 million gas boilers are installed in the UK every year, and the government is considering a ban on gas boilers for new homes as soon as 2023, according to The Times.
As well as homes with standard gas boilers, around four million households which are off-grid - typically in rural areas - will be impacted by the change, too. Households reliant on stored oil or gas for their heatings needs will be required to move to eco-friendly alternatives.
The white paper states, “To achieve net-zero emissions, we will have to transition completely away from traditional natural gas boilers for heating homes on the gas grid.
“There are currently around 1.7 million fossil fuel boiler installations every year but by the mid-2030s we expect all newly installed heating systems to be low-carbon or to be appliances that we are confident can be converted to a clean fuel supply.
“Electric heat pumps and hydrogen, green gas and shared heat networks all have their part to play. So, while we are clear on the eventual outcome, we will be flexible in how we achieve it, always looking for the most cost-effective, consumer-friendly approach and open to innovative solutions.”
What will the alternatives be?
Heat pumps are one potential alternative, although they are costly to install and might be more costly to run than gas boilers, in some instances.
Gas boilers which are hydrogen-ready could be utilised in those areas where hydrogen-heating is scheduled to be rolled out by 2033.
Randolph Brazier, of the Energy Networks Association, which represents businesses, said, “To reduce our carbon emissions from our heating, cooking and hot water, people must be able to choose the technology that’s right for them and the properties they live in.
“Otherwise we will fail. We need heat pumps, hydrogen-ready boilers and any other technologies that can help deliver that.”