HVP Magazine – Editorial column July/August 2022: At the crossroads



While traditionally our sector hasn’t felt major shockwaves from a changing of the guard at the top, there’s every chance an upheaval is headed our way. That would be unfortunate given that the industry finally has a roadmap to net zero.

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution document, published in November 2020, put accelerating the UK’s path to net zero firmly on the agenda as a key policy piece of the Johnson government. The Heat and buildings strategy and Hydrogen Strategy were also published under his leadership, to explain how the UK could start to meet some of its decarbonisation targets.

While it is fair to question whether many of the goals proposed in these policy documents are realistic (especially considering the amount of investment currently set aside to achieve them), some are at least on the level of ambition. required if we really want to have a realistic chance of reaching net zero by 2050; the target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028 is one of them.

Arguably, Johnson’s government has been stronger (or at least more vocal) on environmental issues than previous Conservative governments, so it will be interesting to see if that continues under a new party leader.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, one of the frontrunners, has in the past been described by the media as less net zero-friendly than Johnson.

There has also been backlash against the net zero program from a number of Tory backbenchers in recent months, with a ‘net zero watchdog group’ surfacing to the right of the party.

The early days of the leadership campaign saw most candidates commit to maintaining net zero targets, but only after pressure from the Conservative Environmental Network.

With Johnson’s government having strongly supported heat pump technology as the way forward, it will be interesting to see if a new leader will seek to reshape the industry’s current trajectory.

The future of the heating sector has suddenly darkened again.

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