Grant Shapps admits he doesn't have a heat pump and nor does No10

Grant Shapps admits he doesn’t have a heat pump and nor does No10 – as government prepares to add £100 a year to gas bills in ‘green drive’ to encourage Brits to switch boilers

  • Ministers want to rebalance levies on energy bills to focus on gas usage 
  • Families could get hundreds off bills if they agree to have wind farm nearby

Grant Shapps today admitted he does not have a heat pump at home – as the government laid out plans to encourage Brits to ditch gas boilers.

The Energy Secretary insisted he has booked an appointment for experts to come and assess whether he can get one of the electric systems installed.

Meanwhile, the PM’s spokesman confirmed that Downing Street does not have a heat pump, although he stressed that efforts are being made to improve the building. 

Mr Shapps was asked about his domestic arrangements during a round of interviews after he unveiled the government’s ‘Powering Up Britain’ plans.

The blueprint includes rebalancing green levies from electricity to gas, adding around £100 a year to the latter in order to incentivise people to switch.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is also being extended for another three years until 2028, with grants of up to £5,000 available towards a heat pump for homes in England and Wales. 

Mr Shapps revealed energy company workers were coming to survey his house this month ‘to see about whether heat pumps can work’.

‘Sort of living the dream as it were, or I’m hoping to. We’ll see what happens when they come around to my house,’ he told GB News.

Asked if the PM has a heat pump, his official spokesman said: ‘I don’t know at his personal home. I don’t believe there is one in No10, although we have taken a number of measures to improve energy efficiency in the building.’ 

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps announced details of the Government’s green drive today

10-12 Downing Street – including the flats occupied by Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt – were given a dismal efficiency rating in the latest assessment

Mr Shapps also confirmed a widening of an insulation scheme to those in the least energy efficient homes in Council Tax bands A to D. 

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy found that 78 per cent of Britons use gas central heating. 

Yet from 2025, no gas boilers will be installed in new build homes. And from 2035 all newly installed heating systems will have to be low carbon, such as heat pumps 

Gas bills could rise by around £100 a year under the Government’s new green drive. 

Ministers want to ‘rebalance’ levies on the main two types of energy, encouraging people to use electricity instead. 

While gas produces greenhouse gases, electricity can be generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar. 

Households are currently funding the shift to green energy through state levies on electricity, making it more expensive than gas. 

Along with subsidies for insulation and the vulnerable, those charges add up to £131 on a typical annual electricity bill. 

By contrast the levies on a typical gas bill are just £34. Ministers are concerned that the difference will turn people off replacing their gas boilers with alternatives such as electric heat pumps. 

The plans are set to go for consultation, and there is no timetable for implementing them yet.

MailOnline revealed last year that a survey of Downing Street had urged the PM to install solar panels, use draught excluders and replace boilers with a heat pump.

The recommendations were made as the historic buildings at 10-12 – including the flats occupied by Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt – were given a dismal efficiency rating.

They received a score of 150 in the year to June, compared to a typical rating for public buildings of 100. Higher numbers mean emissions are worse.

The findings were accompanied by a host of suggestions about how to improve the performance. They echoed some of the tips that the government has been giving households amid the cost-of-living crisis, such as smart meters and stopping draughts.

No10 said in December that had followed the advice on smart meters and more loft and wall insulation, and was ‘scoping the viability’ of using heat pumps. 

However, Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt are not affected personally by any changes, as they only pay a taxable benefit on running costs at the grace-and-favour apartments – capped at 10 per cent of their ministerial salaries. 

The latest Ofgem cap shows that social and environmental levies make up £165 of the average annual dual fuel bill – although the Government currently subsidises bills    

Other key measures announced in the Powering Up Britain plan today by Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, include:

  • Ministers want to speed up planning approvals for solar and offshore wind, with people getting hundreds of pounds off bills if they live near a turbine;
  • £380million to be invested in more charging points and better infrastructure for electric vehicles;
  • Mr Shapps has recommitted to the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars; 
  • A competition to select the best Small Modular Reactor technologies will be launched by autumn;
  • The locations of the first Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage projects have been announced. 

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Shapps said Britons would need to switch from gas to cleaner energy ‘over the next decade or two’.

He told Sky News: ‘We all know that electricity can be a big way to decarbonise, but we also know these are big changes. So this is not a sort of rip-out-your-boiler moment. This is a transition over a period of time to get to homes which are heated in a different way and also insulated much better.’

He admitted ‘we’re in the low numbers still’ for the uptake of heat pumps, with around 42,000 installed last year, adding: ‘This programme, which is latent, it’s at the beginning. There are technical issues that people are having to deal with in order to meet the switchover.’

Listing the steps he has taken in his own home, including turning down the boiler flow, Mr Shapps said: ‘I’m gradually doing things. I’m not sort of some eco-warrior in this. I just want to try and save money on my energy bills like everybody else.’

Mr Shapps, who does not have a heat pump, said the Government’s Powering Up Britain strategy had extended a scheme offering households £5,000 to replace their gas boilers.

But he added that energy company workers were going to survey his house this month ‘to see about whether heat pumps can work’.

He told GB News: ‘Sort of living the dream, as it were – or I’m hoping to. We’ll see what happens when they come around to my house.’

Meanwhile, families could be offered hundreds of pounds off their energy bills if they agree to have a wind farm nearby under plans set to be announced today.

Ministers will launch a consultation to ensure local communities can benefit from the development of onshore wind farms where there is local support.

Mr Shapps confirmed that families who choose to support onshore wind could benefit directly through lower bills.

Ministers have previously looked at a scheme to give households up to £350 a year off their bills in return for supporting the construction of local wind farms.

When Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, he scrapped moves to relax the planning laws that have led to a virtual moratorium on wind farms since 2015.

But he faced a mounting backbench rebellion after an amendment was tabled to allow onshore wind where there is community consent.

Labour then joined forces with the rebels to support the amendment and No10 was forced to reconsider.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said: ‘We have always been clear that we support the development of onshore wind where there is local support.

‘Today’s package of measures ensures councils will have more flexibility to respond to the views of their residents, while we will shortly consult on further measures so that communities that choose to support onshore wind in their area can benefit directly from doing so, including through lower bills.’

Former prime minister David Cameron introduced an effective ban on onshore wind farms in 2015.

Developers were forced to address all local concerns about a potential wind farm and just one person could hold up an entire project.

Calls to end the ban on new onshore wind farms have grown amid efforts to secure the UK’s energy independence after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine squeezed supplies.

Shapps says 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars WILL go ahead  

A ban on new petrol and diesel cars will still take effect from 2030, despite Europe watering down its own restrictions, Mr Shapps has confirmed.

The Energy Secretary said the UK did not have to follow the EU, which has climbed down to allow sales of new internal combustion engine cars that only run on ‘e-fuels’ such as biodiesel to continue after 2035.

Earlier this week Brussels approved a law to end sales of new CO2-emitting cars in the EU in 2035 – but Germany won an exemption for vehicles which burn carbon-neutral petrol alternatives.

The EU law will require all new cars sold to have zero CO2 emissions from 2035, and 55 per cent lower emissions from 2030 than in 2021. Britain has a policy to halt sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030. After that hybrids will be phased out so all new cars and vans are fully zero emission by 2035.

But despite reports that the UK was considering following the EU’s lead by also allowing an e-fuel exemption, Mr Shapps insisted Britain’s policy would not change.

A ban on new petrol and diesel cars will still take effect from 2030, despite Europe watering down its own restrictions, the Energy Secretary has confirmed

The Energy Secretary told reporters: ‘I appreciate the German car industry has its own particular take on this. We have set out our path, which is by 2030 the end of the sale of pure petrol and diesel.

‘There is then a five-year transition period which we’ve yet to describe in detail.

‘All of that remains the same. We will always have a look at what is developing or happening elsewhere, but our policy does not change as a result.

‘Our plan at the moment does not have an exemption for e-fuels, but there is that five-year period to deal with as well.

‘This is not a change of policy – we are sticking with our plans. We are not in Europe, we don’t have to do what Europe does on this stuff – we’ve always been more forward leaning on this stuff than the EU.

‘That’s been the case up until now, and I suspect we will want to be more forward leaning on all of this stuff.’

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