A shortage of heat pump installers could stall the government’s plans to tackle climate change, according to research carried out by consulting firm EY.
Gas boilers will be banned from new-build homes from 2025, and there is a proposed cut-off date of 2035 for the installation of all conventional gas boilers.
Moving to alternatives such as electric heat pumps – which work by absorbing heat from the environment – would require almost 10,000 installers by 2025, but there are only around 1,200 currently qualified to do this in the UK, EY said.
It’s estimated that heating and powering homes accounts for around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and alternatives such as heat pumps form part of the government’s aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Last year, Boris Johnson announced a 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” that would create 250,000 jobs, while organisations such as the Green Alliance have suggested that prioritising environmental initiatives could create more than 16,000 further roles as the UK strives to meet carbon reduction targets.
However, low public awareness of electric heat pumps has led to a lack of demand, according to Nicola Pitts of the Independent Networks Association, which commissioned the research from EY.
“No public awareness and engagement campaign has taken place with consumers so far. It is clear that one size does not fit all for consumers and this could lead to a lack of demand for the first homes delivered under this standard,” she said.
She called for a workable cross-government plan with “a clear planning framework, timely and ‘right sized’ utility connections, a developed low-carbon heating system supply chain and sufficient numbers of skilled fitters”.