Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Households could be slapped with extra taxes for refusing to take out their gas boilers, a top energy boss has suggested.

Emma Fletcher, who heads up a project at Octopus Energy to push households towards making their homes net zero, claimed that there should be a “carrot and stick” approach to encouraging people to switch to heat pumps.

The Government wants the majority of homes to get rid of their gas boilers once they’ve broken down after 2035 with the aim of making home heating net zero by 2050.

Despite a target of 600,000 heat pump installations a year from 2028, in 2022 the figure was around a tenth of that.

Ms Fletcher told the Telegraph: “I’ve thought a lot about how you actually incentivise people. Do you put it on council tax – so those who are on the lowest incomes don’t have to pay?”

She mooted the idea of giving households in higher tax bands a £5-a-month charge “for not having done something” by 2035, in areas where councils have already declared a climate emergency.

She explained: “So you’re given time to do something, but actually, after a while, you start having to pay in to something which then can be used to help people who are on low incomes to do it.

“But be under no illusion, the clock is ticking. That is where we have got to get to.”

However, the Octopus Energy employee, conceded that heat pumps have a “public perception” problem.

Critics say they are insufficient to heat older properties or ones that are poorly insulated.

This comes as the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the current rate of heat pump installation is “not cutting the mustard” and should be paid for or subsidised by the UK Government.

The commission, in its recommendations covering the next five years, said a third of the lowest income households, including those living in social housing, should have their costs fully funded by £2.5 billion of annual investment.

Other property owners should be eligible to claim a £7,000 subsidy to put towards the installation of an electrified heating system, with the offer tapered down over time to encourage early take-up, if the UK’s 2035 carbon-cutting targets are to be met.

The commission also said 0 percent financing options should be available to help households with costs beyond that subsidy threshold, alongside planning reforms to make it simpler to install heat pumps.

In its report, The Second National Infrastructure Assessment, published on Wednesday, the commission said heat pumps and heat networks “are the solution” to the environmental challenge.

“They are highly efficient, available now and being deployed rapidly in other countries,” it said.

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