Without immediate action from the government to clarify policies and introduce stricter regulation more urgently, the UK will miss its 2050 net zero goal, utility E.ON has warned.
Having assessed the emissions reduction performance of the UK’s homes and workplaces across cities in its latest report, determining that a more detailed roadmap to 2050 is required, E.ON has stressed the need for the government's ten point decarbonisation plan – released last year – to inspire concrete policies, for example introducing dates for when cities should ban the use of fossil fuel vehicles.
Already, the UK has a national date of 2030 for the ban on sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, a policy brought forward within the plan.
Alongside a pathway to 2050, E.ON is also calling for a sell-by date for gas boilers, saying such a policy should to be introduced to give both consumers and heating manufacturers and installers greater clarity.
E.ON pointed to how government subsidies for low carbon electricity and support for vulnerable customers are paid for through levies on electricity bills, arguing that removing policy costs from bills entirely and instead paying for subsidies through a carbon tax on fossil fuel heating would make electrified heating cheaper.
This echoes a letter sent to energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng by the Environmental Audit Committee late last year, which referenced evidence the Committee had heard during a recent inquiry that suggested how reviewing the policy costs for gas and electricity could significantly improve the customer case for heat pumps, helping to make them cheaper than conventional gas boilers in a domestic setting.
E.ON continued that there should also be increased clarity on an energy efficiency scheme incentivising early action from small businesses, and a crackdown on rogue traders and low-quality suppliers to give homeowners confidence in investing in sustainability measures.
Other recommendations made by E.ON include accelerating the rollout of district heating, creating a high profile communications campaign to explain to households the need for decarbonisation, creating a more sustainable carbon leakage protection framework and introducing tougher regulations to mandate that all new properties are built to zero carbon standards.
Michael Lewis, E.ON UK chief executive, said: “Government has shown significant commitment and the Prime Minister’s ten point plan gives a sense of the scale of change needed but the pace needs to step up if we are to realise this ambition and secure the economic benefits for the UK.
"We must not forget this is a marathon, a 30-year ambition."