Publication

Boiler alert: addressing the challenges and trade-offs from the decarbonisation of home heat

This report calls on the Government to demonstrate strong political leadership on the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target to win public and industry support for the decarbonisation of Britain’s homes.

Informed by a recent expert roundtable and polling evidence commissioned for the SMF, the report highlights a lack of public understanding of Net Zero and the need to transition homes away from natural gas boilers. This public knowledge deficit should be countered by clear messaging, otherwise politicians risk the costs and disruption of replacing boilers in 24.5 million households creating a backlash against Net Zero.

Key points

  • SMF-commissioned polling finds that despite broad support, only 30% of the public can correctly identify the meaning of “Net Zero”. More than 30% of the public are unfamiliar with alternatives to gas heating; 30% say they “don’t know enough”.
  • Before a mandatory phaseout of natural gas boilers takes place, a number of key conditions – set out as part of a national roadmap – must be met.
  • These include improving public awareness of Net Zero and role of household emissions; a package of support for low-income and vulnerable households; and the establishment of local-level plans for decarbonising home heat.
  • The Government should consider approaches to stimulate the market for low-carbon heating systems, including mandating the conversion of all government buildings to alternative heating systems.

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