What is the £5000 boiler heat pump payment?
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A house of Lords Committee has slammed the UK’s £450million heat pump scheme, with the Chair of the Committee blaming the Government’s behaviour for its failure so far, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), launched in May 2022, provides grants for the installation of low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps in domestic and small non-domestic properties. The £450million scheme offers households subsidies of up to £5,000 for the installation of an air source heat pump, and £6,000 for installing a ground source heat pump.
Despite significantly slashing the cost of heat pumps, which are up to three to four times more energy efficient than traditional gas boilers, the take up of the scheme has been slow.
Official figures show that in the nine months since launching the scheme, up until 31 January 2023, only 9,889 vouchers have been issued worth a total value of £49,730,000.
By the same date, 7,641 vouchers have been redeemed, meaning there have been 7,641 installations under the BUS. This is less than a third of the £150million that the Government had allocated for each year of the scheme.
In a letter sent to Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Committee warned that if the current take-up rate continues, only half of the allocated budget will be used to help households switch to low-carbon heating systems.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Baroness Parminter, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said: We absolutely found that there was a disappointingly low take up of the heat pumps and that the Government who has set up this scheme to prime the heat pump market, this is just not priming the market.
“One of the reasons is that historically there’s been a very low awareness by people about the need to change the heating in our homes.
“I think the Government’s own figures show that about 60 percent of people have little or no awareness of the need to change the heating in their homes to a low-carbon alternative and specifically that 80 percent have no awareness at all of what air source heat pumps are.
“So when you’ve got that low awareness in the general public unless the government starts communicating with people, it’s obviously going to be slow at the start.”
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To tackle this issue, Baroness Parminter called for a major communications drive to raise awareness about the heat pump scheme, similar to the campaign to promote social distancing during the pandemic, and the current ad blitz to save energy during the winter.
She said: “That’s exactly what we need and we need it now because it’s at the start of this scheme. Heat pumps are an established technology which is used very, very well in mainland Europe.
“We need to give people the confidence to move from gas boilers and other fossil fuel solutions.”
Over the past year, heat pumps have been hailed as a solution to some of Britain’s biggest crises right now. Given that the technology is three to four times more efficient than a gas boiler and runs on electricity, it could significantly slash household bills.
Furthermore, heat pumps have also been tipped to end the UK’s reliance on expensive natural gas imports, while also helping the country hit its legally binding net-zero targets.
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Baroness Parminter continued by saying: “The evidence we received is that the Government is putting out too many mixed messages to people at the moment about the role of hydrogen as a future source of home heating.
“We accept the evidence which was initially given to us by the Climate Change committee and by the majority of people who came before our committee, that hydrogen is not in the short to medium term, a solution for home heating.”
She noted that there were still many questions surrounding the safety of hydrogen, and how much the UK can produce, unlike heat pumps, which she described as “perfectly mature technology which is used well around the rest of mainland Europe.”
She added that this mixed messaging was also hampering the number of heat pump installers in the UK, which is estimated to be around only 3,000.
She said: “If the Government is putting out mixed messages saying well green hydrogen might be an alternative for home heating, it’s not going to make the case to encourage gas boilers to retrain as heat pump installers- and we desperately need that now.”
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