Public confusion on gas boiler ban

Unclear messaging means 97% of people do not know when the UK’s target gas boiler phase out will begin, and nearly two-thirds (61%) think it is two or more years sooner than proposed.

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By Jess Ralston


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Unclear messaging, vague policy timelines and a lack of strategic direction mean that the UK public is confused about the UK’s gas boilers phase out, a new poll by Focal Data for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has shown [1].

Only 3% of respondents to the poll got the gas boiler target phase out date of 2035 (12 years’ time) for existing homes correct. Of the other 97% that got the phase out date wrong, or said they didn’t know, around two-thirds (63%) thought it is sooner than it is with the majority (61%) responding that it is two or more years sooner than proposed. Nearly half (43%) thought it was five or more years earlier.


The poll also found that only half of people know that gas boilers and hobs produce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change (49% and 47% respectively). Heating and cooking currently account for around a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions [2].


In addition, around two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they did not know that gas boilers produce air pollution. Gas boilers can account for a fifth of nitrous oxides (NOx), a type of air pollution, in some urban areas. NOx has been linked to increases in cardiovascular and respiratory health issues [3]. It has recently been reported that half the nitrogen dioxide in central London comes from gas boilers, a proportion which will likely rise as transport policies like the ULEZ reduce the relative air pollution from vehicles [4].


When the respondents were told that gas boilers produce air pollution, more than half (53%) said it made them more likely to want to switch to a cleaner alternative, with 43% saying it made no difference, and 4% said it made them less likely to want to switch.

The Government currently has a target to phase out gas boilers in existing homes from 2035 [5]. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme currently offers a £5,000 or £6,000 grant for air source or ground source heat pumps respectively. Despite delays to the online portal that allowed installers to progress applications under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, analysis has shown that the scheme could run out of vouchers if current monthly increases in installation rates continue [6].

The UK committed to phasing out gas boilers in new homes from 2025, as part of the Future Homes Standard, but has yet to confirm whether new homes will be allowed to connect to the gas grid or not despite a consultation being due in ‘Spring’ 2023 [7]. The Government has also not confirmed whether a proposed ban on all fossil fuel boilers in off-gas grid homes will be implemented from 2026 [8].

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