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Conventional gas boilers to be phased out by mid-2030s

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The government has indicated it will phase out installations of conventional gas boilers for home heating by the mid-2030s as part of efforts to decarbonise the UK’s economy.

In its energy white paper, it said it will ensure that households continue to have reliable heating systems but that to achieve net zero emissions, a total transition away from traditional natural gas boilers is necessary.

There are currently around 1.7 million fossil fuel boiler installations every year, but by the mid-2030s it is expected that all new installations will be low-carbon or to be appliances that can be converted to a clean fuel supply.

In addition to using electric boilers as the obvious alternative, other low-carbon means of heating will be explored such as electric heat pumps and hydrogen, green gas and shared heat networks.

“While we are clear on the eventual outcome, we will be flexible in how we achieve it,” the white paper states, “always looking for the most cost-effective, consumer-friendly approach and open to innovative solutions”.

“We want to give households, suppliers, installers and equipment manufacturers long lead times to prepare for this transition.

“We will target the point of least disruption to consumers and minimise the impact on the housing market and will therefore look to use natural trigger points, such as the replacement cycle for existing heating systems.”

It added that the government plans to work with the market to reduce costs for those looking to install low-carbon heating solutions.

It is hoped that households will voluntarily install heat pumps in the 2020s, with targets to increase installations from 30,000 a year at the moment to 600,000 a year by 2028.

A consultation is set to be launched on new regulations to phase out fossil fuels in off-grid homes, businesses and public buildings, including a date by which they have to stop being used, as well as looking at the need to require new gas boilers to be readily convertible to hydrogen.

The advisory Committee on Climate Change last week recommended the government phase out new gas boilers, unless they were hydrogen-ready in areas earmarked for hydrogen heating, by 2033.

The paper also confirms plans to look at the feasibility of ending the connection of new-build homes to the natural gas grid, a move first announced last year by then chancellor Philip Hammond.

The paper also furthers plans to boost new nuclear generation, offshore wind and electric vehicle charging.

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