Experts slam plans to reverse heat pump policy in "latest retreat from measures to tackle climate change”
The government has been slammed over reports it could cave to industry lobbyists over its heat pump policy in what could be yet ANOTHER net zero U-turn.
Reports that Rishi Sunak is poised to scrap plans to fine boiler makers who fail to meet production targets for heat pumps in the UK has been slammed by experts, environmentalists and MPs with commentators condemning the move as another setback to net zero goals.
Speculation that the government is set to reverse plans to introduce the fines were labelled the PM’s, “latest retreat from measures to tackle climate change” by Financial Times Political Editor Jim Pickard.
Industry lobbyists have been pushing Whitehall to delay or scrap the Clean Heat Market Mechanism policy, which is set to launch in April, with manufacturers accused of pushing up prices for consumers towards the end of last year ahead of getting a potential fine.
It would come at a time when Rishi Sunak’s recent climate policies have damaged the UK’s global image in the sector amid “mixed messages” and a series of other policy rollbacks.
Heat pumps would be required to make up 4% of of big boiler companies total boiler sales under the new system, creating an incentive to drive down prices for clean heat technologies. Lobbyists have said the quotas are unrealistic and have complained over a shortage of installers.
Independent think tank Green Alliance warned that scrapping the Clean Heat Market Mechanism would have “serious implications for the UK’s ability to decarbonise homes and lower bills for consumers across the UK”.
While Caroline Lucas responded on X: “This Govt’s war on climate action goes marching on. When it’s not promoting drilling for more oil & gas, it’s ditching or delaying the vital green transition. Future generations will pay a terrible price for these climate crimes.”
According to DeSmog’s climate journalist Phoebe Cooke, no decision has yet been made by the Government over the policy, however a source revealed to Cooke that the Energy Secretary was under “heavy lobbying pressure”. DeSmog has previously published about attacks on heat pumps and its links to a gas lobby group.
Experts have warned that a reversal of the decision further puts at risk the Government’s 2050 net zero goals, and specifically would throw into question the government’s own target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.
Greenpeace UK accused the Rishi Sunak’s government of “bending to blackmail from boiler companies”.
The climate campaign group wrote: “Heat pumps boost energy security and cut household emissions. Anyone else sick of politicians putting the gas lobby above a liveable planet?”
(Credit: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)
Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues