Natural Gas banned in new builds from 2025?

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Philip Hammond

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 on 13th March 2019 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.

Mr. 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 in 2018 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.

Gas free homes for 2025

However, the National Secretary for the GMB Union, Mr. Justin Bowden, called on MPs to block the new standard.

Mr. Bowden 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 this 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, 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.”

With the Government at least trying to find ways to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, little thought appears to have been given on the increased levels of CO2 that may well be produced when the demands of electricity are significantly raised as a direct result of the Future Homes Standard, when all new build homes will then rely solely on electricity to be heated by alternative means.

The installation costs of alternative appliances could also be an issue as hot water storage would be necessary air and ground heat pumps cannot provide sufficient heat for instantaneous hot water supplies such as those provided by gas-fired combination boilers. This could mean additional methods such as solar heating or solar power, which again would make a significant increase in the cost of housing under this new Standard.

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