BBC investigation finds rural communities still can’t afford heat pumps, despite new grants

An investigation by the BBC has found that people living in rural areas say they still can’t afford to install heat pumps, despite the government offering more financial incentives.

Last month Rishi Sunak announced that a series of policy changes around the government’s green agenda, including plans to delay the ban on installing oil and LPG boilers for off-gas-grid homes, moving the dates from 2026 to 2035.

Following that announcement, the grant to support people in England and Wales installing a heat pump was increased to £7,500.  However, calculations show that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme does not fully cover the costs of installation, which for some properties can reach up to £35,000

The BBC spoke to Stuart Jefferies who lives in the small Worcestershire village of Defford, in a house estimated to date back to 1450.  The property has an oil-fired central heating system, no mains gas and little insulation.

Mr Jefferies told the BBC:

"If you want to heat the house - it's electric, oil or bottled gas. 

"We've got some timber-framed, single-glazed, leaded windows, which I've got no intention of changing because it would completely change the character of the house.  The radiators would need to be changed for larger ones, which again, is something I don't want to do, because it would take up more space in a house that's not particularly big."

You can read the full article on the BBC website here and the RSN’s response to the government announcement here.


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