Industry reaction to newly-elected Government

Members of the heating and plumbing industry have given their thoughts on the newly-elected Government, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party finished the election with a House of Commons majority of 80.
Guy Pulham, Chief Executive of the trade association for the liquid fuels distribution industry UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), said:
“We are looking forward to working with the Prime Minister and the Government in developing a pathway for off grid heating in rural communities to help to achieve ambitions for a net-zero carbon economy.
“In order to achieve this though, we will be emphasising to the Government that we must not put rural communities at a disadvantage. Our supply chain, for domestic liquid fuels (used for home heating and hot water) accepts the urgent need to decarbonise heating. Liquid fuel, more specifically a bio product, can be part of the solution to achieve net zero.  We believe large scale electrification through the use of heat pumps is not the answer and Government need to look at alternatives as this is not feasible, due to high installation and running costs of installing heat pumps, for off grid homeowners.
“Recognising fuel poverty levels in the UK are already too high, we believe that different solutions will suit different homes and budgets. We will be lobbying the new Government to implement policy that should be focussed on ensuring that ‘heating systems are appropriate to properties heating requirements’ while clearly demonstrating both carbon abatements and strong particle emission controls. Many UK oil-heated homes were built pre 1919 which makes them more costly to effectively retrofit and therefore more difficult to efficiently convert to other technologies. Because of this, we believe the widespread use of heat pumps is not the only solution this Government should be focusing on.
“We have developed a strategy in partnership with other trade associations in our supply chain that meets the needs of the off-grid consumer as well as the urgent need to address climate change. Our strategy is a transition that does not disadvantage the consumer with wholesale costly changes to their property and is a stepped approach toward a transition to 100% biofuel to replace heating oil in 1.5m homes across the UK.
“In order to achieve this though, we want the new Government to implement policies that will help the forgotten rural fuel poor whilst also cutting carbon emissions. In the Conservative party manifesto, they said their first Budget will prioritise the environment: investing in R&D and decarbonisation schemes and we will be lobbying the Government to ensure biofuels is part of the decarbonisation landscape.
“We believe our strategy is a practical, affordable and effective solution which addresses key Government requirements: to keep energy bills low; cost effectively reduce carbon emissions; ensure a secure, resilient energy supply; bring economic benefits and avoid unreasonable upfront costs for consumers. It is vital that the right solutions are implemented in the right homes to achieve the lowest cost per tonne of carbon saving ratio.”
While Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch, praised the focus on environment from all the parties:
“It has been widely reported that the 2019 general election was the climate election. Part of me agrees, and it was good to see that all major political parties have focused on environmental policies within their manifestos during the campaign trail.
“This is unsurprising as the public has been more aware of climate change and its detrimental effects than in previous years. However, the elected party really needs to ensure that the momentum continues and the promises they have made can be met.
“The net zero target is an important one and something we would have supported regardless of which party came into office. Worcester Bosch and others in the industry have already been working towards through developing new technologies to help support this. However, the decarbonisation of heating and hot water is and will be one of the hardest to tackle and a realistic timeline is essential.
“With the Conservatives retaining their leadership, the original commitment to net zero by 2050 remains. This is realistic and achievable as it gives industry time to continue developing and suggesting new low carbon heating technologies, such as hydrogen gas.
“The Conservatives have specifically mentioned boilers in their manifesto, saying that they would allocate £6.3bn for environmental upgrades to homes, such as grants for improving boilers and insulation.”
SEA Chief Executive Lesley Rudd, commented:
“The Sustainable Energy Association looks forward to working with the new Government to achieve net zero emissions and to create living and working spaces fit for future generations.  This last year people in the UK, and around the world have demonstrated the importance of climate change and demanded urgent action from policy makers. In 2020 the UK will host the UN global climate negotiations at COP26 and we need to ensure that we have policies in place to deliver on our net zero commitment by then. We need policies to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings and to decarbonise our heating. This is an emergency and we need to treat it as such.”

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