Replacing gas boilers with green alternatives could cost homeowners up to £25,000, MPs and peers have warned, as the Government announced drastic new emissions cuts.
Boris Johnson on Tuesday committed the UK to cutting carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, compared to 1990 levels, as recommended by the Government’s climate advisory body.
The legally binding pledge puts the UK at the forefront of emissions targets among leading economies, and comes ahead of a climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden on Thursday.
It means a 58 per cent cut over the next 15 years, according to analysis by the website Carbon Brief, and will require changes to the way we heat our homes and travel, and what we eat. For the first time, the UK will also include emissions from international aviation, which could cause a rise in air fares.
Asked on Tuesday whether including targets on aviation would affect airport projects including Heathrow, Boris Johnson said he wasn’t opposed to air travel and was a “technological optimist”.
“In the end, humanity is going to need to fly, and it’s going to have to fly in a clean, green way,” he said.
The Government’s climate change advisers have called for a phase-out of new gas boilers by 2033. The Government has committed to installing 600,000 heat pumps, which work like a refrigerator in reverse and run on electricity, in homes every year from 2028.
Millions of the UK’s draughty homes will also need to be better insulated in order to preserve energy and keep homes at optimal warmth with low-carbon heating.
Adair Turner, a former head of the CBI and a crossbench peer, on Tuesday said homeowners faced a bill of £10-15,000 just for insulation, before the cost of a heat pump.
He said “higher income people” should be expected to “simply sign a cheque for that”, but more help would be needed for those on lower incomes.
Philip Dunne MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said the costs of insulation were being underestimated by the Government, and could reach more like £20,000, with higher costs in older, rural homes, and significant disruption during retrofitting.
Mr Dunne said the policy would be “a blight on a lot of houses”, without any extra support.
The Government has been criticised for scrapping its flagship £1.5billion Green Homes Grant, which offered homeowners up to £10,000 toward insulation costs, just months after it was introduced.