Labour to scrap 2035 ban on new gas boilers

  • Replacing gas boilers is a crucial part of achieving the UK’s 2050 Net-Zero Strategy
  • Home heating accounts for 14% of the UK’s emissions
  • Britain consumes the equivalent of 1,000 cubic metres of gas per person every year 
Man adjusting a gas boiler

600,000 heat pumps need to be installed every year by 2028 to achieve net-zero targets

Labour has vowed to scrap the Conservatives’ 2035 target of banning all new gas boilers and will instead focus on financial incentives to increase heat pump installations. 

The party plans to encourage people without putting pressure on making a change by a specific date, which is yet to be announced.

Ed Miliband, shadow energy secretary, said: “On home heating – as we said in our manifesto – no one’s going to be forced to rip out their boiler. We’re absolutely clear about that. We haven’t stuck with the Government’s 2035 target when you can’t replace your gas boiler.

“We’ve got to show that heat pumps are affordable and are going to work for people.”

The pledge is in line with Labour’s Great British Energy plan for total net-zero energy generation by 2030, a plan that was slammed by the GMB Union and Claire Coutinho, energy secretary. They warned that in doing so, Labour would risk blackouts and public unrest across the country. 

In September 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that homeowners would “only ever have to make the switch when you’re replacing your boiler anyway, and even then, not until 2035”. 

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, introduced on 1 April 2022 to help negate the costs of installing a heat pump. The £3.9bn funding scheme aims to provide eligible households with up to £7,500 to mitigate the cost of installing a heat pump, and is set to run until 2028. 

Most recently, Ofgem updated the scheme’s eligibility guidelines. Homeowners no longer need cavity wall or roof insulation to qualify. 

Miliband added: “I’ll be honest, I think one good thing the current Government did, among a number of bad things, was to increase the heat pump grant to £7,500.”

Home heating accounts for 14% of the UK’s emissions and as such, both parties want to see gas boilers replaced with heat pumps in ambitious plans to help reach the UK’s net-zero strategy by its 2050 deadline. But there is disagreement on how best to achieve it. 

To avoid becoming dependent on foreign exports, the UK must find new ways to generate electricity as the North Sea continues to decline.

Heat pumps are a key alternative, relying on electricity rather than gas, but hesitance to commit comes mainly from cost rather than resource, with a heat pump averaging £10,000 – £12,000 for installation, compared to a gas boiler costing between £2,000 – £3,000. 

Seventy-five billion cubic metres of gas is consumed by Britain each year, a third used to generate electricity and nearly another third to heat homes.

The current subsidy system covers the cost of 90,000 homes with £450m of funding, but the Climate Change Committee recognises that 600,000 heat pumps need to be installed every year by 2028 to achieve net-zero targets. 

Labour is exploring several avenues in a bid to build confidence in green technology and make it more affordable without negatively impacting taxpayers. They stand to back the creation of green mortgages whereby homes with insulation or heat pumps have more favourable rates, positive changes to stamp duty and council tax rewards. They want to introduce requirements for landlords to upgrade EPC efficiency to at least level C, a plan that was scrapped by Conservatives. 

Labour have also committed an extra £6.6bn in funding for green homes, including insulation, solar panels and home battery schemes. As well as that, £3.3bn of the £8.3bn Great British Energy fund will be used in the form of loans and grants to support local community projects such as wind farms. 

Miliband concluded: “Our local power plan will work with local communities and local authorities in two different ways.

“First, it will have clean power projects that local communities can get direct benefit from – potentially lowering bills. And the proceeds will also go back to local communities. The idea is that Great British Energy will invest to give a direct stake to local people.”

Written by:
Louise joined The Eco Experts as Editorial Assistant in April 2024. She is a talented artist who has a keen interest in solutions that lead to a more environmentally-friendly future.
Reviewed by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
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