Is Boris learning the lesson?

25th Oct 2021

 

In the dim and distant past, I took part in a forum looking at the future for local government. One of the experts, a Professor in Public Policy, gave an apocryphal tale.

Local councillors asked the public what they wanted from their local council, they replied, “clean up the dog mess.” Officers and councillors thought they knew better, so developed an economic strategy. Next year they asked the voters the same question, with the same response. Therefore, officers developed an environmental strategy, believing this is what was really wanted. The following year, a repeat, but a transport strategy was developed. In the fourth year, pleased with the array of strategies developed, the councillors asked the voters to re-elect them; in turn, the voters said, “no thanks, you’ve done nothing about the dog mess.”

Consumers have been asked time and again about the future of heat in their homes; from polling, focus groups, the Citizens Assembly – endless times they have responded the same way. They do care about the climate but want to keep their gas central heating system.

Now we can take the approach described above and suggest to consumers what is best for them, or we can listen. Government officials, who previously were keen to tell consumers what they had to have in their home, may have been reined in by politicians fearful of a voter backlash.

In the Heat and Buildings Strategy published last week, the “banning of gas boilers by 2035” has been watered down. Now their intention is to “phase out the installation of new and replacement natural gas boilers, in line with replacement cycle timelines”. With the extra caveat, provided that alternative heating technologies have reduced to cost comparability.

The energy industry just needs to get on with delivering a heating option that addresses the consumers’ view, achieve Net Zero but keep their boiler. In other words, keep the boiler but change the gas.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

It appears the Prime Minister may have heeded a lesson as old a time. “All politics is local” and there is nothing more local than something inside your home keeping you warm in winter.

 

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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