“I’ve not seen that before.”

17th Jun 2024


Twice in the space of a few weeks has the expression “I’ve not seen that before” been used.

Many people saw the Auroura Borealis, right here across the UK just a few weeks ago. The images were spectacular. A first time viewing for millions.

Then last week, something even more remarkable happened. Millions will see it, but few will recognise that they are witnessing such a rare event. I can say with all honesty, that “I’ve not seen that before;” indeed, I doubt it has ever happened before. So, a first time in history and we shouldn’t downplay its significance. But last week, in the manifestos of the two major political parties seeking office, reference was made to gas boilers not being ripped out of homes in the quest for net zero!

The Conservative Party manifesto read:

“…never forcing people to rip out their existing boiler and replace it with a heat pump.”

The Labour Party manifesto read:

“Nobody will be forced to rip out their boiler as a result of our plans.”

Yep, never in British politics has reference been made to boilers this way. That’s significant because it acknowledges that the transition to low carbon heating, which we need to do, can’t be forced upon people. It implies choice. It also suggests that there must be a long-term future for the gas networks. How else do you stick to that pledge if someone wants to keep a boiler?

So now we have that statement of intent from both parties, let’s use it as the basis for determining how we do decarbonise UK homes. Let’s agree we will see heat pumps fitted in the millions; we will see heat networks become more commonplace and given the backstop position outlined by both parties, we will see boilers used in their millions too.

The choice facing the country is whether those gas boilers (and read across for oil too) use a zero-carbon gas such as hydrogen (HVO for oil) or continue to burn natural gas with other mechanisms deployed to off set their carbon emissions.

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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