Gas heating systems will no longer be allowed in new homes from 2025 under new regulations unveiled by Philip Hammond.
The chancellor of the exchequer announced in his spring statement speech earlier today (13 March) that the government will be introducing a Future Homes Standard that will apply to new dwellings from the middle of this decade.
Under the standard, new houses will have to be installed with “world leading” levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heating, such as heat pumps rather than gas-fired central heating.
Hammond said: “We will introduce a Future Homes Standard, mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025.”
The new standard is designed to help to deliver prime minister Theresa May’s pledge last year to at least halve the energy use of new-build properties by 2030.
The move to ban fossil fuel heating from new builds by 2025 is in line with a recommendation in a report on housing issued last month by the Committee on Climate Change [CCC], which advises government. It had recommended against such new homes being connected to the gas grid, which would make them unable to use gas cooking hobs. However the Future Homes Standard announced today appears to stop short of that CCC proposal.
Today’s statement also saw a commitment by the government to accelerate the decarbonisation of the gas grid by injecting more green gas into the network.
Justin Bowden, national secretary of the GMB union, called on MPs to block the new standard.
He said: “GMB calls on parliament to reject this proposal until there is thorough public debate on the energy mix and who pays.
“We recognise the UK must up its game in respect of its climate change commitments under the Paris Treaty – but today’s announcement doesn’t sound well thought through.
“The decisions on the UK’s future energy needs and mix must be properly debated. Gas will be essential to meeting UK energy demands for many years to come.
“Whilst GMB welcomes the direction of travel on greening the gas grid with ultra-low carbon gas such as hydrogen, it is fundamentally right that the UK public must be consulted first on decisions that are being made today, particularly because ultimately it is them who have to pay.
“This is another example of the demerger of economic and political questions and decision making. This is no longer an acceptable way of proceeding.”
However, the announcement of the new standard met a warmer reception from energy groups.
James Court, policy and external affairs director at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The introduction of a Future Homes Standard has the potential to help remove some of the uncertainty surrounding the path to decarbonising heat, ensuring a clear plan for clean and cost-effective heating.”
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said: “Energy UK has long called for action to further decarbonise our economy including heating. It is therefore positive to hear from the chancellor today, in his spring statement, of measures to increase green gas and the new Future Homes Standard to deliver low carbon heating and greater levels of energy efficiency in all new homes from 2025.”