UK home boilers staggering emissions

Barry White

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Britain’s domestic boilers is more than double the emissions of all the gas-fired power stations in the UK according to a report by a climate charity.

The shocking findings come from a new study by the climate charity Possible and the social enterprise Scene, which estimates that UK’s boilers also produce more than eight and a half times more harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases than power plants. They show the urgent need for a strong government policy to rapidly introduce low-carbon heating such as heat pumps, the researchers said. Heat pumps run on electricity and are efficient but they cost much more to install than gas boilers.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said the installation of new gas boilers must be banned from 2025 or the UK’s net zero climate target will be “doomed”.

Some media reports point towards the government pushing the gas boiler ban back to 2040 see:

Home energy use contributes about 15% of all the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions while the UK lags behind most European countries in terms of heat pump installations.

A second analysis has found that high gas prices mean the energy bills of people living in poorly insulated homes will rise by up to £246 a year. The UK has the oldest housing stock in western Europe but the rates of home insulation installation plunged by 95% between 2012 and 2019. A recent government energy efficiency scheme collapsed after six months, with the
National Audit Office blaming ministers for the “botched” policy.

Neil Jones, from the climate charity Possible said: “Amid a frightening gas price crisis, and a decade of opportunity wasted by the government to insulate our homes, supporting households to begin switching to clean heat pumps has come suddenly into focus. “It’s high time the government finally gave us all the tools we need to modernise our homes, and ensure a safer, cleaner future.”

The government has promised to publish its heat and buildings strategy before November’s UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

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