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UK: Ban new homes from connecting to the gas grid ‘in six years’ to tackle ‘climate change’

New homes should be banned from connecting to the gas grid within six years to tackle climate change, UK government advisers say.

They want new-build homes in the countryside to be warmed by heat pumps – and cooking done on induction hobs, rather than using gas boilers and hobs.

In cities, new housing estates and flats should be kept warm by networks of hot water, says the report.

The water could be heated by waste heat from industry.

An alternative approach is to use heat pumps, which draw warmth from the sea or lakes; or burn gas from waste.

The report, from the independent Committee on Climate Change, recommends these changes are made to new homes at first because it’s much more economical that way. They say it costs £4,800 to install low-carbon heating in a new home, but £26,300 in an existing house.

What’s more, these systems will only work if homes are insulated to the highest standards so they need little heating.

It’s the committee’s job to lay down a pathway for the UK to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (on 1990 levels).

They are dismayed that emissions from housing suddenly increased last year, when they should be going down.

The housing emissions mainly came from heating boilers – a little-discussed source of greenhouse gases.

The committee says that to meet climate targets, all homes in future will have to virtually eliminate emissions.

The government said it’s committed to investing £6bn to improve the energy efficiency of lower income and vulnerable households in a decade.

How big is the problem?

Some 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes, but little’s being done to reduce them.

The committee’s spokesperson Prof Julia King told us: “This generation of home-owners is cheating its children by leaving homes which are completely inadequate for an age of climate change.

“They’re too cold in winter and increasingly, as the climate continues to warm, they are going to become too hot in the summer.”