Seeing the wood for the trees

13th May 2019

 

It was good to see the Committee on Climate Change calling for a step-change in afforestation. About time too.

The benefits of this policy are clear for all to see. As a means to store carbon; locked into buildings to replace energy-intensive products like brick and concrete; strategically located, they can draw up water from flood-prone areas (like the Welsh mountains) where climate change is likely to bring more rainfall and more intensely.

It also brings wider environmental benefits from increased land mass given over to wooded habitat. Tackling climate change needs to be a positive change; one that people can get behind because the reality is, it is going to cost money and may curtail freedom of choice.

Minimising the inconvenience and disruption to peoples’ lives whilst hitting the carbon reduction targets needs to be at the forefront of thinking. There might be many ways technically of achieving the outcome; it is the practicality that will determine whether we succeed or not. Again the CCC have picked this up in their recent report on Net Zero. They call for existing radiators to be kept, minimising in-home disruption, so green gas delivered via a gas network is the obvious solution.

The choice becomes clearer – it is either through biogas or hydrogen (or both) that heat decarbonisation is achieved. So well done to the CCC for moving in the direction of travel that our industry has been advocating.

What the Government now needs to do, is to signal its intent. Based on existing technological solutions, they should set out a timetable for green gas compatible appliances to be mandatory – in the same manner as they did for condensing boilers. Industry is ready to work with them, as we did before, to make sure installers are ready; the product is available and the consumer informed. Working together, we can decarbonise heat affordably, conveniently whilst giving consumers warmth when they need it. The days of banning gas are gone; the days of embracing green gases are now with us.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO