Millions of households right across the UK could potentially find themselves hit with fines of up to a whopping £10,000 for failing to replace their gas boiler.
It’s said that around 17 million UK homes still use gas boilers, but after it was revealed that almost a third of the country’s carbon emissions come from heating systems, ministers have warned that this must be rapidly cut if the country hopes to achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The government is therefore said to be discussing a cut-off date of 2035, when the use of gas boilers in existing homes would be phased out. Plenty of time… for most.
A selection of environmentally-friendly alternatives would be required instead.
It comes after reports that gas boilers will be banned in all new-build homes from 2023 – which is two years earlier than initially planned – and after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week that gas boilers should be banned from as early as 2025 to aid the fight against climate change.
According to Bloomberg News, it has been reported that government officials are planning to introduce penalties for those who do not comply with the planned eco rules, with enforcement options potentially including “the threat of financial penalties for non-compliance”.
If this presents itself as true, fines are expected to be at the centre of the net-zero plans due to be announced in the coming weeks.
The IEA has also said that from now on, there is no place for new coal, oil, or gas exploration and supplies, and if the government adopts this advice, it will mean that all homes will eventually be required to have low-carbon alternatives to gas boilers fitted in their place.
So, what are the suggested alternatives then?
The first would be an eco-friendly heat pump – which has already faced criticism due to it’s largely unaffordable price that typically costs around £10,000 – and the other option would be to transform properties into electricity-only, with some homes in the UK already set up like this thanks to making use of electric-powered storage heaters, as opposed to radiators.
There are currently around 30,000 heat pumps installed in the UK each year, but the government wants to significantly increase this to 600,000 per year by 2028.
Heat pumps use a refrigerant to absorb natural heat found in the air, ground or water, which is then transferred to the cold water system in a house to heat it up and pump it to radiators and hot taps, and as the pumps also run on electricity, this can be sourced in more eco-friendly ways, including the use of solar panels.
A third option would be to install boilers that use hydrogen instead of carbonised gas, which is said to be much better for the environment due to the only by-product of burning hydrogen being water.
While nothing has been confirmed yet, many are speculating that the government’s unveiling of its net-zero plans expected in the coming weeks will bring answers to the conversation.