Policy report

Decarbonising heating at home

Learning from past successes and failures to improve energy policy making
Building energy codes Energy efficiency Energy rating Heating Renewable energy Zero-carbon housing Energy resources United Kingdom
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With the Green Homes Grant cancelled just nine months after its high-profile launch, this report warns the government will fail to decarbonise the UK’s domestic heating – essential to hit its 2050 net zero target – unless it learns from the scheme’s failures. This means resolving the conflicting priorities of the Treasury and BEIS and doing more to ensure that government energy policy aligns across major departments.

This report sets out a series of recommendations ahead of the publication of the government’s much-delayed Heat and Buildings Strategy – which must provide a clear roadmap for achieving the government’s clean heating goals.

Drawing on lessons learned from key officials involved in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in Great Britain, and the minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) in private-rented housing in England, both of which suffered from weaknesses in their initial design and delivery, the paper sets out five key lessons for the government to improve energy policy making:

  • Central government policy makers must put implementation at the heart of policy design. 
  • Use more trials and experiments to learn which policies work, and then be ready to scale up.
  • Give more sustained attention to the development of technologies, skills and the supply chain.
  • Improve policy development coordination between key departments, particularly BEIS, MHCLG and the Treasury.
  • Give BEIS and MHCLG the resources they need to design effective policies.
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