The Government has announced the formation of a £50 million greener boiler incentive to upgrade the boilers of 125 000 households. This incentive, to be launched in 2010, will help householders reduce their emissions by upgrading their old boilers to the latest efficient models.
Photo: Christmas Fairy cake sold for the Gloucestershire Chest Fund on Goodwill evening
This is good news - it was Green party London Mayoral candidate Sian Berry who helped launch the campaign for a gas boiler scrappage scheme - this is basically a short-term anti-recession measure to bring forward some overdue savings by replacing old equipment now and help small businesses.
Of course we can have greener boilers, but unless this is part of a mass insulation programme, lifestyle shift and renewables installation, there will be a tendency of replacing old boilers with new ones that are more efficient but just as big. This would be like campaigning against 4x4s - and just arguing for new, more fuel efficient 4x4's instead. Research has shown that by saving money on the new boiler without accompanying measures we will just heat our homes warmer. New boilers should be smaller as well as more efficient. So some caution!!
Mick Williams, a plumbers’ merchant based in Hampshire, had the idea for a boiler scrappage scheme. He argued that small businesses need a boost right now far more than banks and giant corporations. And, with lower bills and added carbon savings, the scheme would bring real green benefits as well. Mick started an online Downing Street petition after being inspired by the absurd car scrappage scheme, and could see that boiler scrappage would be far better for carbon savings.
According to the campaign website, www.reheatbritain.org.uk, the benefits of a boiler scrappage scheme would include:
- Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
- Boilers account for around 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions in a gas heated home. By replacing an old G rated boiler with a new high efficiency condensing boiler and improved heating controls, emissions can be cut by as much as a quarter (see figures here).
- Lower bills for many householders
- Savings in carbon translate into reduced gas bills, with the average home saving up to £200 per year with a new condensing boiler (see figures here).
- A boost to businesses involved in plumbing, building and related industries These businesses are largely sole traders and small companies, whose profits benefit local communities much more than those of the car and banking industries.
- A boost to British manufacturing
- A large proportion of gas boilers are still made here in the UK, so a boiler scrappage scheme would benefit many thousands of other workers here, not just plumbers and builders.
To read the full story, see pages 115 and 132 in section seven of the pre-budget report at: http://ow.ly/MHBI