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Life’s no longer such a gas!

The government’s climate change advisory body has recommended that gas boilers and cookers should be banned in new homes within six years to meet Britain’s legally binding emissions targets.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said that a so-called future homes standard would be introduced “mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems”, which would deliver “lower carbon and lower fuel bills too”.

The Committee on Climate Change proposes that developers should be forbidden from connecting homes to the gas grid but should instead be forced to install low-carbon heating systems, according to a report. The move would mean that newly built homes would not be able to have gas stoves and would need to be fitted with alternatives such as induction hobs.

The committee has put pressure on the government to tackle emissions from homes more seriously, and to ensure that they are adapted to cope with more extreme weather conditions in the future.

They claim that way new homes are built and existing properties are “retrofitted” with energy efficiency measures often falls short of stated design standards, deceiving householders and inflicting costs on the future.

Closing the “performance gap” between design standards and what is achieved could save those in new homes between £70 and £260 a year on their energy bills, the report said.

Cash-strapped councils need better funding to help enforce building standards and there should be stiffer penalties for non-compliance, it said. The Treasury should support, as a “major infrastructure priority”, measures in existing homes to install low-carbon heating such as heat pumps, loft and wall insulation, and protection for properties at risk of flooding.

Baroness Brown, the chair of the CCC’s adaptation subcommittee, said: “There are almost 30m homes in the UK, and most of them are not in a condition to keep us comfortable and productive and well as the climate changes. “Energy use in our homes is around a fifth of greenhouse gases, and the biggest part of those emissions is from burning gas for heating and hot water.

“We could tell house builders who are making a lot of money from help to buy that it’s only available for homes of a really high quality.”

A government spokesman said it would carefully consider the recommendations, adding: “The UK has reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation, and moving to a greener, cleaner economy while continuing to grow the economy is at the heart of our modern industrial strategy. “Over the next 10 years, we have committed to drive £6bn to improve the energy efficiency of lower income and vulnerable households.

However, the Home Builders Federation has condemned the proposal, saying that banning gas boilers would make houses harder to sell because consumers liked them and they were cheaper than heat pumps.

A spokesman for the federation said in response to the chancellor’s announcement: “The ongoing costs and comfort of homeowners is an absolute priority for homebuilders and it must be ensured that alternative heat sources are suitably attractive, available and efficient before withdrawing existing options.”

For more information about this or any other gas or heating-related matter call SEM Facilities on 0203 4750 999

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