Homeowners in the capital will now be eligible for up to £400 cashback when they replace their old inefficient boiler (rated at 70% efficient or less) with a new ‘A-rated’ model or renewable heating system, the Mayor of London has announced.
As part of Boris Johnson’s bid to cut household energy bills and reduce carbon emissions, the Greater London Authority has set aside £2.6m to provide up to 6,500 owner-occupiers and accredited private landlords in London with the opportunity to claim £400 cashback when they install a replacement boiler.
Mr Johnson said: “This scheme will help London homes become more energy-efficient and cut annual bills. As well as saving hard earned cash, upgrading an old boiler gives the environment a huge boost by lowering carbon emissions and making our air sweeter. I encourage everyone harbouring ancient boiler artifacts to sign up now and benefit from a new cost effective heating system.”
With the potential to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by up to 9,750 tonnes, and potential savings of around £340 a year achievable for those investing in a high efficiency system, Neil Schofield, head of external affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group believes this is a scheme the industry has been crying out for.
He said: “It is extremely encouraging to see that boiler scrappage is back on the agenda. Where previous industry incentives have involved too much red tape, the London Boiler Cashback Scheme does away with the complications and makes things as simple as possible for both the installer and the householder. This is a simple policy with clear benefits for everyone involved, and the Greater London Authority should be praised for adopting a common sense approach to heating efficiency.”
Tim Pollard, head of sustainability for Plumb Center, described the scheme as a welcome boost for the heating industry: “Previous scrappage schemes have proved to stimulate action and we have no doubt this initiative will do likewise,” he said. “Our branches are already prepared for the spike in demand with the majority of boiler brands and models in stock now for immediate collection, and our branch teams are ready to advise installers on how they can help their domestic customers to take advantage of the scheme.”
Mr Pollard continued: “A mild winter and continuing economic uncertainty has led to many homeowners stalling on plans to update their heating systems and with the majority of boilers being manufactured in the UK, this has created an unwelcome situation throughout the supply chain. So although this is a London-centric scheme, the benefits of the investment will be felt far beyond the M25."
Such was the success of the government’s previous boiler scrappage scheme, run by the Energy Saving Trust in 2010, Mr Schofield hopes that a positive reaction will even lead to an extension of the scheme beyond the country’s capital.
Paul Hardy, managing director for Baxi, agreed with Mr Schofield by saying: “No doubt the scheme will be welcome news for Londoners, with some able to save as much as £340 a year, but with research showing that there are currently over 2.3m fuel poor homes in England, we hope to see other cities across the UK follow suit.”
Mr Hardy noted that, by replacing old and inefficient boilers with new low carbon heat technology or renewable energy systems, the London Boiler Cashback Scheme will not only help to reduce carbon emissions in London but, as the replacement must be installed by a Gas Safe registered installer, it will also play a significant role in highlighting to consumers the importance of choosing an accredited installer for any gas boiler work.
As with the previous boiler scrappage scheme in 2010, the Builders Merchant's Federation (BMF) was involved in formulating the scheme and helped City Hall staff, along with other heating industry partners, to devise workable arrangements and decide on eligibility and practicalities.
Brett Amphlett, BMF policy and public affairs’ manager, concluded: “We know from the Green Deal cashback offer and Green Deal Home Improvement Fund that most of those vouchers went towards the cost of replacing boilers. It would be better to have a compelling vision to encourage residents to do the right thing to make homes warmer, cut bills and save money. However, in the absence of a proper, long-term national policy, it is not surprising that residents respond to a cash incentive.”