Certification group responds to Boiler Upgrade Scheme revisions


Government plans to revise the Boiler Upgrade Scheme have been broadly welcomed by a certification body working with heat pump installers.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) said that it hoped that some of the planned changes announced on March 14 would increase the number of households using the scheme. The amendments have been introduced following a government consultation last year.

BUS Reforms

Plans to reform the Boiler Upgrade Scheme were announced by the government earlier this week as part of a series of changes in its heating policy. The amendments included removing a requirement for properties to undertake insulation improvements if identified during a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment before being able to obtain a £7,500 grant through the scheme. Successful applicants must still have a valid EPC assessment that is no more than ten years old. Other amendments included plans to outline different levels of grant funding for properties such as off-grid homes.

MCS certification is another mandatory requirement for companies wishing to fit heat pumps under the Boiler Upgrade scheme.

Ian Rippin, chief executive of MCS, said the organisation believed that a decision to remove a requirement to install cavity wall or loft insulation would expand uptake of the incentive. It would also have the impact of ensuring energy efficiency was seen as being equally as important to heating performance – regardless of the technology being installed, Mr Rippin said.

He added: “Regardless of the heat source, a fabric first approach is always the most sensible solution and something we continue to support. However, if insulation isn’t a pre-requisite for a boiler then it shouldn’t be for a low carbon heating source. We are hopeful this change empowers consumers and helps bolster confidence in proven technologies.”

MCS said it also welcomed the government’s decision to allow for biomass boilers with an integrated function for cooking to receive funding.

Crucial Government support

Mr Rippin said that the announcements had been made at a time when heat pump installations were increasing in the UK. This was also reflected in the growing number of MCS certified contractors supporting the technology. He added that effective government support through policies and incentives was crucial to expand the size of the domestic heat pump market.

Mr Rippin said: “For the UK to meet its net zero commitments, including reaching the government target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028, we hope to see increased support for homeowners who are keen to make the switch from gas boilers to low carbon heating.”

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme was launched in 2022 to provide grants that would partially subsidise the cost of installing air source and ground source heat pumps, as well as some biomass systems. Further amendments to the incentive were introduced last year that meant that all recipients of the incentive would receive a grant of £7,500, regardless of the type of heat pump system.

Sourced from: H&V News by Neil Merrett

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