TORIES PUT HARVIE’S GAS AT A PEEP OVER GREENS BID TO BAN BOILERS

Patrick Harvie’s ban on gas boilers threatens to saddle home buyers with ‘huge bills’

By Bill Heaney

Wee Paddy Harvie, the Dumbarton Academy former pupil, who is now helping Humza Yousaf to run the country has come up with another Green Party whizz in the  wake of their disastrously failed – and extremely costly – bottle and can return scheme.

Scottish Ministers have been warned of the ‘unintended consequences’ of an SNP/Greens alliance policy to ban gas heaters for all new build homes from April 2024

Scottish Green Party Co-convenor, Patrick Harvie MSP is spearheading the legislation
Scottish Green Party Co-convener, Patrick Harvie MSP is spearheading the legislation.

A ban on gas boilers for ALL new homes has been put forward by Greens Minister Harvie but developers have warned that “unintended consequences” will worsen the crippling housing shortage.

The Greens policy will look to ban fossil fuel heating systems in all new homes built in Scotland. The Scottish Government has a target of 25,000 new homes per year and the programme is now set to include climate targets in step with the overall goal for net zero by 2040.

Builders have warned that the cost of new housing will increase, the electricity grid lacks capacity and there will be issues with the supply chain, all leading to a drop in the completion rate.

Mr Harvie, however, said the proposals to use heat pumps, solar and electric energy instead of gas boilers will “lead the way” in cutting emissions

His “one size fits all” approach has been slated by Tory MSP Liam Kerr, who said the “position will saddle home buyers with further huge bills during a cost-of-living crisis”.

If passed by Holyrood, the rules will come into effect from April 2024, and would be another win for the Bute House Agreement at the centre of conflict at Holyrood.

Mr Kerr, the party’s shadow net zero, energy and transport secretary, said: “Huge additional costs will be imposed on householders– and very possibly also on energy bills – under Patrick Harvie’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to reducing emissions.

“But the consultation shows that industry believes it will create a serious disincentive for desperately needed new housing, driving up costs and having a disastrous impact on the wider economy.

“We all want to see a managed, just transition towards net zero, but that means realistic, proportionate policies.

“The Greens’ extreme position will saddle home buyers with further huge bills during a cost-of-living crisis.”

Liam Kerr
Liam Kerr MSP said the ‘extreme Green’ policy will hit home buyers

Greener building practices have widespread support, although developers like Persimmon Homes, Cala Homes and Taylor Wimpey have put their concerns on record through the consultation.

Persimmon Homes, who have an extensive presence in West Dunbartonshire,  said: “The unintended consequences will be many and varied.

“Many fewer houses will be built. The housing crisis we are in will worsen. The construction industry is recognised as being a major driver in a strong economy.

“To significantly reduce the output of the house building industry will result in a corresponding damage to the wider economy.”

Cala Homes, who built hundreds of houses in Balloch, believe that there is “every chance that development will slow down until such times as the electrical network and supply chain is in a position to facilitate national decarbonisation”.

The electricity network in Scotland was not “sufficiently developed to provide the required capacity” to allow the thousands of homes to be built said Taylor Wimpey.

A Scottish Government business and regulatory impact assessment highlighted the increased costs of installing an air-source heat pump compared to a gas boiler, equivalent and put the cost at around £10,000 in additional costs.

Other respondents to the consultation suggested exemptions were needed for rural communities.

Mr Harvie said: “Along with transport, heating Scotland’s homes and buildings is one of the biggest contributors to our carbon emissions and we know we have to take bold action to meet our climate obligations.

“These regulations will mean that direct emissions heating systems – like gas boilers – will no longer be installed in new homes and non-domestic buildings. Instead, they will be replaced by climate-friendly alternatives like heat pumps and heat networks.
“This change is essential to deliver our commitment to make buildings zero carbon by 2045.

“It will also mean that people who buy new homes will know that their home is future-proofed against the need to have to switch heating systems in the future.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Heating Scotland’s homes and buildings is one of the biggest contributors to our carbon emissions and we know we have to take bold action to meet the legal climate targets, which all parties in Parliament voted for.

“The sale price of a new building is determined by individual developers and takes into account a range of factors related to building construction costs and local housing markets. Retrofitting a home is more expensive than installing a heat pump from the outset – so people buying a new home will be buying one that is future-proofed against higher costs down the line.

“We initially announced our intention to regulate new build heating systems in September 2019 – almost five years in advance of the regulations coming into force. That has given the construction sector significant time in which to plan for these new regulations, and we have laid these nine months before they come into force to ensure industry have sight of the detail in advance to aid planning.”

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