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UK Misses Heat Pump Installation Target

UK Misses Heat Pump Installation Target
19 April 2023

The UK’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been branded “an embarrassment” as it has failed to meet a third of its target heat pump installations.

The scheme had a budget of £150 million to fund 30,000 heat pumps, but just £60 million worth of vouchers was given out according to Ofgem figures.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is an initiative to encourage more people in England and Wales to install low-carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers.


"When will the government actually listen to the people, the majority of whom simply cannot afford a heat pump, subsidised or not.”

–Mike Foster

CEO, The Energy and Utilities Alliance


The Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee concluded in February 2023 that the government was unlikely to meet its installation target of 600,000 installations per year by 2028. The committee identified several barriers such as a lack of public awareness of low-carbon heating systems and a shortage of heat-pump installers.

Mike Foster, CEO of the trade body the Energy and Utilities Alliance has called the scheme “an embarrassment of a policy.” He said: “It takes a certain type of genius to fail to give away £150 million of taxpayers’ money and this wretched scheme looks like it has done just that. When will the government actually listen to the people, the majority of whom simply cannot afford a heat pump, subsidised or not?”

“The scheme is simply a taxpayer handout to those who don’t need it, to keep the secretly funded heat pump lobby quiet. It does little for carbon saving compared to investment on insulation. It does not help people keep bills low. It takes from the poor to give to the wealthy and it is an embarrassment of a policy.”

“More taxpayer-subsidised heat pumps have probably been fitted in Cornish holiday homes than the whole of Britain’s second city, Birmingham. That is shameful. People are still hurting with high energy bills, insulating the homes of those most in need should be the priority, not giving hard-earned taxpayers’ cash to those who were going to buy a heat pump anyway. It’s utterly wasteful.”


Cost of Installation Too High


Kevin Mcguane, who is the Energy Services Director at DMA Group, a property maintenance specialist, feels that high cost of installation, even with the government grant support, is off-putting to most homeowners:

“It’s a dilemma for most homeowners and small businesses who genuinely want to play their part. The capital costs involved in replacing a conventional gas boiler with a heat pump are huge by comparison. Even with a government grant, the cost of a heat pump is typically twice that of a conventional gas boiler. Not to mention the very long lead times to buy and install this renewable technology.

“These challenges are magnified by the exceptional macro-economic and geo-political events that currently conspire to compound our net-zero objectives. The one characteristic that does support carbon reduction/demand reduction are the increases in energy bills. The government must support energy demand reduction with grants towards better insulation, double glazing, LED lighting, and better heating controls. Controls such as absence and presence detection can also ensure that lights are not left on.”

Picture: a photograph of an air source heat pump condenser unit. Image Credit: istock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 April 2023


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