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Red Wall wants a choice on energy future

Residents in 18 Red Wall constituencies in the north of England have made clear their views on home heating and Net Zero, results of exclusive polling conducted for the not-for-profit trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has revealed.

Mike Foster the chief executive of the EUA

At a time when rising energy bills are central to peoples’ concerns, the strength of feeling towards Government policy has called into question plans to decarbonise home heating.

When asked about low carbon heating, residents were asked how important it was to maintain both a gas and electricity supply to their home, 84 per cent excluding don’t knows stated it was fairly or very important to them. That figure rose to 91 per cent of pensioners across the 18 Red Wall constituencies.

They were also asked, how much, if at all, they would be willing to pay to have low carbon heating systems installed in their homes. Excluding ‘Don’t Knows’, 57 per cent said they were not prepared to pay anything; with 84 per cent saying up to £1000. Less than 3 per cent were willing to pay the amounts currently expected to fit a heat pump.

Commenting on the results, Mike Foster the chief executive of the EUA said:

“Energy prices are rightly top of the political agenda at the moment. But coming over the horizon is the challenge of Net Zero. Voters are angry about high energy bills now; they are also clearly dismissive of future Government plans around low carbon heating in their homes.”

“It is crystal clear that voters currently on the gas grid want to stay connected to gas. They don’t want to be disconnected from mains gas and forced into an electric only option. This should make Ministers sit up and listen. The only way forward is to switch the gas network to a low carbon gas, such as hydrogen.”

“When it comes to who pays for decarbonisation, the voters have again spoken. Nearly six in 10 say they won’t pay a penny more, some are willing to contribute, but only a fraction of what the Government wants them to pay. The Prime Minister said heat pumps cost “ten grand a pop” and at that price, fewer than three in a hundred will pay that.”

“The good news is that the heating industry has agreed to keep hydrogen boilers the same price as current natural gas ones, so avoiding huge upfront bills that voters will not pay. Now is the time for the Government to unveil its plans to support hydrogen gas networks and hydrogen-ready boilers, reassuring hard-pressed families about keeping the costs of Net Zero down.”

25 January 2022

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