Let's be clear about the answer to this; No, they are not and here’s why:
Firstly, let's be clear about what this means; right now registered gas engineers can still install and replace a gas boiler with a combi gas boiler. These boilers must, however, be of Boiler Plus Standard in England (in Wales the rules vary due to property type). This covers the vast majority of housing stock in the UK and will remain so for decades to come so there will be no shortage of boiler work for installers for the foreseeable future.
So why the confusion about new builds you may ask? Well it has come about from the erroneous inclusion of a comment in the government's latest Ten Point Plan that the Prime Minister announced days ago, for a Green Industrial Revolution that gave a promise to outlaw gas boilers in new homes by 2023. The plan gave a pledge to implement the Future Home Standard in a shorter space of time, followed by many within the industry asking questions about this bold line. It turns out that it was included in error and was hastily retracted. But confusion still reigns, with questions such as, ‘are we going to stop installing gas boilers in homes?’ as a typical example.
The rules only affect new builds. It's an inevitability that the installation of gas central heating appliances in new build properties will be banned, alternative means of heating including heat pumps or hydrogen boilers or electric boilers will have to be specified by developers. However, these technologies are far from being installed in great numbers as yet with further technological developments needed before they are both widely available and able to deliver reliable heating results.
For more background on this we need to look at The Future Home Standard which is due to come to fruition from 2025. The government is now extending the Green Homes Grant for another year according to the aims set out the Heat and Buildings Strategy for 2021 and the government’s Ten Point Plan also supports the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which says that all new developments in the UK are required to be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) before 2021. Hence why everyone is confused; the timeline is short and becoming condensed. Kevin Wellman, CEO of CIPHE was quoted in PHAM News on this subject:
“The infrastructure will not be in place by 2023 to abolish gas boilers. The Hydrogen network is not due to be trialled at scale (in limited areas) until 2023 and heat pump production will need to increase significantly to reach demand.”
The bottom line is that existing properties will not be affected by the legislation and are expected to be able to use gas boilers for the foreseeable future. The government has a commitment to Net Zero by 2050, so it’s true that natural gas fired boilers are time limited and technology will inevitably change, but not for another 30 years.
Overall, the industry will take many, many years to adapt and gas boilers will exist in millions of properties for many years to come. They will all need servicing and maintaining and replacing and there still remains the problem that there are not enough Gas Engineers to carry out this work at present.
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