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Head of EUA says Committee on Climate Change 'living on another planet' after homes report

MIke Foster, head of heating and energy umbrella group, takes issue with Committee on Climate Change anti-gas stance for new homes

Mike Foster, head of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, and a former government minister, has slammed the Committee on Climate Change for “living on another planet, not trying to save the one we have” in his response to its latest report UK Housing: fit for the future?, which addresses low-carbon heating in its series of calls to action.

Not surprisingly, Mr Foster is particularly exercised about the CCC’s advocacy of only building new homes that don’t require connection to the gas grid after 2025. 

Mr Foster also accused the CCC’s Chief Executive Chris Stark of hypocrisy in advocating other people can’t have a gas boiler while he continues to do so.

Mr Foster said: “The authors of this report are living on another planet when they should be giving realistic options on how to save this one. Some of the suggestions simply don’t reflect how people actually live in their homes. We absolutely have to reduce our carbon emissions but we need to take people with us on that journey. Banning gas boilers is a stupid thing to do. We need to change the type of gas to a low carbon version, such as biomethane or hydrogen.”

 Mr Foster went on to suggest that the CCC has been unduly influenced by the heat pump industry. He said:

“The focus should be on future-proofing homes not banning something prematurely. So gas grid connections, using biomethane or hydrogen should still be part of the mix, not banned. That way we keep the convenience and affordability of a gas boiler without the carbon. Instead it seems, the committee listen to their friends from the heat pump industry and plug their appliances instead. Ironically, that means using electricity generated in gas-fired power stations. I have to question why the committee are so keen on fitting heat pumps when so many other, more economically viable options exist.”

He turned his ire on CCC chief executive Chris Stark: ”I have to also make the point, that it is rank hypocrisy for the CEO to be using a gas boiler whilst advocating others can’t. The excuse that it would be difficult and therefore expensive to replace his own boiler is a bit rich; he earns considerably more than average. If he can’t afford to put his money where his mouth is, then how can others be expected to pay? And this matters, because if the public start to turn against action on climate change because of the antics of this committee, then the very poorest and most vulnerable on our planet with suffer the most. For me, that is simply unacceptable.”

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