HHIC calls on government to end the ‘Clean Heat Market Mechanism’

Stewart Clements, director of the HHIC.

The government should put an end to the proposed Clean Heat Market Mechanism, according to the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC), as the second consultation on it runs until 8 June.

The policy seeks to fine boiler manufacturers £5,000 for every gas boiler sold over a certain quota compared to their heat pump sales in an attempt to kickstart demand for heat pumps in the UK.

According to a statement, concern is being raised by the heating industry that fining the manufacturers who do not create the demand for heat pumps or gas boilers will not change the consumer behaviour and has labelled it fundamentally wrong.

Stewart Clements, director of the HHIC, said: “We are urging the government to throw out this out of touch policy before it impacts the industry irreparably. This policy is meant to kick-start the heat pump market but the truth of the matter is, this won’t change anything around demand of heat pumps or gas boilers because demand comes from what people want to buy – not what manufacturers make.

“We need to address other challenges before we start trying to flood the market with heat pumps. Consumers need to be supported in understanding the efficiency benefits of heat pumps when installed in a suitable home and know what grants are available to support with the cost. Without this, there will simply be no demand for the units that the manufacturers are being implicated in producing by the Market Mechanism.

“In addition, we need heating engineers who are trained to be able to fit them, and at present we are very short. There are only around 3,000 heat pump trained installers, yet our recent research has found the number we need is closer to 150,000. Rather than punish the manufacturers, the government needs to focus on incentivising training so engineers are ready for when demand from consumers grows.

“A final way to start a transition to a more buoyant heat pump market would be for the government to incentivise hybrid systems as more of a stop gap solution to get consumers and engineers more used to the technology. However, grants like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme not including hybrid systems once again prevents uptake from consumers in the UK. If hybrid systems and heat pumps were to become more financially viable for homeowners through further grants and incentives, the market will be more likely to pick up.”

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