“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it'll always get you the right ones.”

20th May 2024

 

I’ve been poring over the latest opinion poll that we commissioned and the findings confirm all we have been saying about heat decarbonisation over the past few years.

Overwhelmingly, the UK public think is it important to achieve net zero by 2050, by a margin of 69:21 (10% didn’t know). That’s a fairly clear mandate. That outcome is supported across all demographics, with different margins, but nothing should surprise you.

So, you would think that whatever it takes to achieve it would also win the support of the public. That’s what some evangelists believe. But this is where bitter reality hits their cosseted dreamland. When it comes to personally paying for action to decarbonise homes, the public have spoken, and some people may not like to hear what they have said.

Excluding ‘don’t knows’, only 18% would be prepared to pay more than £1000 to have a low carbon heating system installed in their home. A staggering 49% are not prepared to pay a penny towards the cost. And with the average heat pump installation coming in at over £13,000, it places this option in the dreams not reality part of Father Dougal’s brain (if you know the programme you’ll get the reference). Only 1% are prepared to pay up to £15,000.

Now this must give policymakers pause for thought. Why advocate a solution that people are unwilling or unable to afford? So, what should our response be? Do we fall in line with the evangelists, and frankly have a quieter life, or do we have a duty to be honest? Should we sit back and let decisions be made without pointing out the risks or failings?

I think it is our duty, our responsibility even, to be honest with our friends in government (and those hoping to be). As the saying goes, we may not win many friends for being honest, but they will be the right ones.