Boiler Installation in Letchworth
New boiler installation to keep in line with technology advances
In the latter part of 2020, the government announced a new plan that would bring the ban on gas boilers being fitted in newly built homes forward from 2025 to 2023. However, while the announcement caused quite a stir in the heating industry and considerable confusion with homeowners, it seems that the government has now retracted its plans.
As of 18 October 2021, the new government plans are set to stop the installation of new gas boilers by 2035. Instead, low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps would take their place. Although this is the proposal, legislation is yet to be passed, so there may be further changes going forward.
Although there is still a fair amount of time before this comes in, it is worth considering that there will be no need for existing homes with gas boilers to get rid of them, and when the existing gas boiler needs replacing, it can be replaced with a new gas boiler. The proposal is mainly aimed at new build properties and new gas boiler installations.
Gas boiler installation: What to expect
In 2020, the United Kingdom Prime Minister revealed a new 10-point ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ plan. It is believed that part of this plan will bring the ban on gas boilers in newly built properties forward to 2025. However, this has not been confirmed yet and no details have been provided as to how it will all be achieved.
The 10-point plan states: that homes that are built to future homes standard will be zero carbon ready and have seventy to eighty percent lower carbon emissions than those built to current standards.
A government spokesperson stated that there had been a “mix-up”, and that no fixed date is attached to the plan: “The government wants to implement the measures under the Future Homes Standard in the shortest possible timeline. “We’ve consulted on introducing this by 2025 and will set out further details in due course.”
Will there be an imminent ban on boiler installations?
Not surprisingly, the media has coined the phrase ‘gas boiler ban’, it is important that homeowners understand exactly what has actually been announced by the government.
There have been many stories online about gas boiler bans, but much like the stories regarding a ban on solid fuel stoves, some can be a little misleading.
The government’s Future Home Standard was announced in 2019 and it proposed that gas boiler installations would be banned from newly built properties from 2025. This is part of a wider strategy to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
In 2021, the government published their Heat and Buildings Strategy. The proposal here is to stop gas boiler installation by 2035. In their place would be low-carbon heating systems, such as air source heat pumps.
Heat pumps are considerably more expensive than gas boilers to buy, fit and run. So, to help homeowners cover those upfront costs £5,000 vouchers will be available from April 2022. However, only 90,000 of these vouchers will be available to homeowners over a three-year period. This equates to 30,000 vouchers each year. Clearly, 90,000 is barely going to make a dent in the number of people able to have a new boiler installation carried out.
So, to clarify the proposed legislation, if it is confirmed, would introduce a ban on new gas boiler installation in new homes which are built from 2025. In terms of gas boiler installations in existing homes, the government has proposed putting an end to this by 2035.
If plans to stop new gas boiler installations from 2035 were to go ahead, people with existing gas boilers could go on heating their home with their boiler, until it needs to be replaced.
How fast will this happen?
From 2025, new build homes would be built with low-carbon alternatives such as air source heat pumps. At present, only about 30,000 heat pumps are being installed in the United Kingdom each year. The government would want to increase the number of heat pumps being installed to 600,000 every year by 2028 in order to keep pace with their energy initiative.
Hydrogen and gas boiler installations
The government’s Green Industrial Revolution also stated a desire to introduce hydrogen into the gas network, and eventually produce enough hydrogen to feed the entire gas network. Unlike natural gas, hydrogen does not produce carbon emissions when burnt.
The first stage would be to blend hydrogen into the gas grid, as modern gas boilers are able to accommodate an 80:20 blend of natural gas and hydrogen with no modifications. So, in stage one, homeowners would not notice any difference in the way their homes are heated and there would be no expense to the homeowner.
Stage two would be to ensure that all new boiler installations after a certain date are able to cope with hydrogen. In short, this would mean that they would use natural gas at first but would only need minor modifications in order to work entirely with hydrogen.
Before Letchworth Garden City
The area where Letchworth currently sits has been inhabited since at least prehistoric times. A late Bronze Age hill fort, thought to date from c. 700 BC, stood on Wilbury Hill, beside the ancient road of Icknield Way. The hill fort was refortified c. 400 BC in the Middle Iron Age, and appears to have been occupied until the Roman conquest of Britain. Evidence for Bronze Age, Romano-British and late Iron Age settlement has also been found in the fields between Norton village and the A1.
By the time of the Norman Conquest, when King William the Conqueror came to power over England, Letchworth was established as a village. The name is derived from the Old English “lycce weorth”, meaning a farm inside a fence or enclosure. Letchworth is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Leceworde”, when it was described as having nine households of villagers, four cottagers, one slave and one priest. The fact that there was a priest would suggest that Letchworth was by that time a Christian parish.
Letchworth’s parish church was built in the 12th century, but most probably on the site of a much earlier building. The original dedication of the church is unknown, but it was rededicated to St Mary during the First World War. The village was along Letchworth Lane, stretching from St Mary’s and the adjoining medieval manor house of Letchworth Hall up to the staggered crossroads of Letchworth Lane, Hitchin Road, Baldock Road and Spring Road. Letchworth was a relatively small parish, having a population in 1801 of only sixty seven, rising to ninety six by 1901.
The Christian influence continues in Letchworth
Letchworth’s founding citizens, a good deal of who were Quakers, attracted by the promise of a better life, and were often ridiculed by outsiders as idealistic and otherworldly. John Betjeman in his poems Group Life: Letchworth and Huxley Hall painted Letchworth people as earnest health freaks. One commonly-cited example of this is the ban, most unusual for a British town, on selling alcohol in public premises. This was initially decided by a public vote in June 1907, in which 54% voted against allowing a licensed public house. It appeared that the majority of locals wanted a temperance town, eliminating drunken behaviour and rowdiness that other towns with alcohol selling pubs suffered from. This did not stop the town having a public house, but the Skittles Inn or the “pub with no beer” as it was dubbed opened in March 1907.
Despite the ban it is not entirely true to say that there were no pubs in the Garden City. Pubs that had existed from before the foundation of the Garden City, including the Three Horseshoes in Norton, and the Three Horseshoes and the Fox in Willian, continued to operate, and undoubtedly benefited from the lack of alcohol to be had in the centre of the town, as did the pubs in neighbouring Hitchin and Baldock. New inns also sprang up on the borders of the town, including the Wilbury Hotel which opened in 1940 just outside the Letchworth border. The ban was finally lifted after a referendum in 1957, which led to the opening of the Broadway Hotel in 1962 as the first public house in the centre of the Garden City. Several other public houses have opened since then, but to this day the town centre has only about six pubs, a rather low number for a town of its size.