London, 25 May – The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) has welcomed the government’s promise to backtrack on fines for homeowners who refuse to replace their gas boilers. It warned, however, that government plans to penalise millions of homeowners through the backdoor will turn the Net Zero agenda toxic.
The adoption, from the 1960s onwards, of natural gas for domestic heating and then for electricity generation brought huge advances in prosperity and human well-being in the UK. The Conservative Party’s attempt to wind the clock back and force householders to discard natural gas prematurely, compelling them to use a more expensive and in many cases inferior heating source is to be deplored.
Even government itself seems to be getting cold feet. It is backtracking on earlier reports that it would fine householders that refuse to move over to heat pumps, which can cost more than ten thousand pounds to install, only work well in heavily insulated modern buildings, and will be very expensive to run as electricity costs rise due to the adoption of expensive low carbon sources.
But the promise not to “fine” comes with the barely concealed threat to coerce or penalise householders in other ways, for example through high taxes on natural gas and a surcharge on natural gas boilers.
It seems that ministers are aware that the heat pumps are just not good enough to make their own way in the market, and feel they need to use a big stick to force reluctant consumers to sacrifice their comfort and well-being.
Steve Baker MP said:
“While the policy making elite have persuaded themselves there is a consensus for their views, the public are increasingly at odds as the costs of Net Zero become apparent. A tremendous political revolt lies ahead unless ministers carry the public on this radical new journey."
Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF director, said:
“Voluntary adoption of heat pumps where they are economic is fine and needs no government pressure. But bullying consumers, first with rumours of fines, and now with threats of taxes and surcharges on a fuel – natural gas – that is cheap, clean and extremely effective in keeping homes warm shows that the government doesn’t really believe its own heat-pump propaganda.
"If it doesn’t reconsider its planned ban on gas boilers it risks public outrage, turning the Net Zero agenda toxic."
* Net Zero cost sheet: Cost of decarbonising housing
* Decarbonising homes to meet Net Zero targets will cost £20,000, MPs warn