What can you ask of your MP regarding the decarbonisation of the heat network?

  • If emissions from heating are to be largely eliminated by 2050, a national programme to switch buildings on the gas grid to low-carbon heating would need to begin around 2030, requiring imminent government decisions (CCC). You can ask your MP to question the progress of such policies in Parliament. 
  • The UK is unique in its extensive gas network and having boilers in every home. In the long term (2030 to 2050) we need to see the phasing out of gas boilers. You can ask your MP to find out when the government will set out this long-term vision and report back to you.
  • Providers of hydrogen and heat pumps for example will need to further develop and test their products ahead of government decisions. You can speak to your MP about the required government support for this. For example, hydrogen requires carbon capture and storage (CCS) and heat pumps require a sufficiently sized market. Your MP could write to the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry MP.
  • You can talk to your MP about upgrading standards for new builds, so that they not only reduce energy demand but also are compatible with future installations of low carbon heating systems. This will not only reduce the financial demand in the future from retrofitting, but also new builds ‘lock in’ emissions. With an estimate of 8 million new homes to be built by 2050, homes must be built with the future in mind.
  • You could ask your MP about their thoughts on the reintroduction of the Zero Carbon Homes Policy. The long lifespan of houses means that we need to now be building homes that are future ready, in line with emission reduction targets. This ask is particularly pertinent following the recent announcement from Labour of their ‘street by street’ insulation policy to increase energy efficiency of homes. Policy support is urgently needed to drive energy efficiency improvements.
  • The Hydepoly Project at Keele University is looking into the potential for blending hydrogen into the normal gas supply to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. You could provide your MP with some information on this project and ask them to support more hydrogen blending as a means to reduce emissions and encourage greater hydrogen research. 
  • Some methods of producing hydrogen require carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be carbon neutral. The Committee on Climate Change says how CCS is essential to most decarbonisation pathways and certainly essential to the most-cost-effective ones. CCS is now largely understood but remains undeveloped in the UK, and requires more support from the government. You can ask your MP to push for a strategy on the deployment of CCS.

Date of Publication: 20.06.2018