On the 20th September, Rishi Sunak made an important speech where he set out a new approach to meeting the UK’s Net Zero target in 2050. He said he has made the changes to lessen immediate financial impact on the public in tackling the challenges of climate change.

What are the main changes to Net Zero targets?

The previous ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, has been moved to 2035. So has the ban on fitting new boilers that run on fossil fuels. Mr. Sunak also assured voters that homes that aren’t suitable for heat pumps won’t be forced to install them.

Some good news was that the financial support to households switching to a heat pump under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme has risen – from £5,000 to £7,500. 

Why has he made these changes?

Rishi says that meeting Net Zero requires us all to make sacrifices, but he feels it’s wrong to impose policies that force expensive changes to vehicles and home heating on a public already struggling with a cost-of-living crisis. 

The Prime Minister said that because the UK is doing well in terms of reducing greenhouse gases – we’re down almost 50% since 1990 – we are able to take a ‘pragmatic proportionate approach’ that will soften the blow in the short-term.

Industry reactions

Some environmentalists are disappointed by the slow-down and feel that pushing back the dates will lead to an inevitable increase in CO2 emissions. Business leaders are frustrated by the change in policy, saying it’s difficult for them to make plans for the future when the goal-posts are moved. 

Mark Krull, Director for Logic4training, said: “We welcome increased funding for heat pumps…which should further incentivise households to make the switch. But, alongside this, a more concerted effort to encourage and support building services engineers to upskill is needed – without an engaged installer-base, targets will fall flat.

“What’s crucial now is that that new plan is stuck to. The UK’s ‘will they, won’t they’ approach to environmental policy is an all too familiar scenario, which leads to scepticism amongst business leaders and the public at large. There is huge potential for growth surrounding the technologies and services that support Net Zero, something that is good for the environment and the economy.”

Heating engineers have nothing to fear

For heating installers it’s overall good news. Gas boilers will be here for a little while longer and choosing a heat pump has become even more attractive. 

If you haven’t upskilled into heat pumps yet, now is most definitely the time.

EV charging is in demand

Although just 6% of cars on the road today are electric vehicles, a third of new cars bought last year were electric or hybrid and this figure is only set to rise. More EVs on the road mean we need to vastly increase our charging infrastructure – and FAST! 

There’s never been a better time to train as an EV charging point installer.

The future is still green

Sunak used his speech yesterday to insist the government isn’t turning its back on green initiatives – it is investing billions in new energy projects, including off-shore wind and nuclear power. He sees huge opportunities in green industry and the development of infrastructure to bring renewable energy to households and businesses.

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