In recent months, many constituents have got in touch with me about the planned ban on “off-grid” properties replacing their oil boilers like-for-like by 2026. From my conversations with residents during my Summer Pub Tour and my recent local farmers’ roundtable, to discussions about our own boiler at home, I know this was a cause of real worry.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today that households will not now be required to install heat pumps until after 2035 – and only when their existing boiler needs to be replaced. In addition, the 20% of all homes which are not suitable for heat pumps will be exempt. This is a realistic and practical target, which reflects the needs and concerns of a constituency like Banbury which is largely rural. At the same time, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant will be increased by 50% to £7,500. I am confident that this will go a long way in supporting people to transition to cleaner heating.
The Prime Minister has outlined his common-sense, pragmatic approach to reaching Net Zero. Our ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 brings us in line with the EU and a large number of our international partners. Proposals to introduce 7 different recycling bins for households have also rightly been dropped, while the Prime Minister has been clear that no new taxes will ever be introduced to discourage people from eating meat or taking flights for holidays.
It is important to remember that the UK was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Since 2010, we have cut our per capita CO2 emissions by 40% - far more than the EU or any other G7 country. UK emissions are at their lowest level since the mid-1800s, accounting for less than 1% of current global emissions. Meanwhile, our world-leading agri-environmental schemes will ensure we leave the natural world in a much better state than we found it. The Government’s track record on tackling climate change is clear.
The UK’s emissions targets are rightly ambitious and have an important role to play in driving industry innovation and consumer choice. However, given the continuing impact of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, we must not allow these targets to punish hardworking families and rural households. The Prime Minister’s approach will ensure we reach Net Zero by 2050, as well as meeting all of our international commitments, without placing the cost on working people.