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Independent Assessment: The UK’s Heat and Buildings Strategy

1. Outline

The UK Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy has laid out important high-level decisions on the UK’s approach to reducing emissions from heating buildings. The Strategy sets a new policy direction, focusing on a rapid scale-up of supply chains through a market-based approach. However, plans are not yet comprehensive or complete and significant delivery risks remain. Consultations need to move forward, followed rapidly by final decisions on policy design and effective implementation if the Strategy’s ambitious goals are to be met.

2. Key messages

The five priorities for the UK Government now are:

  • to fill policy gaps including on home energy efficiency and funding to decarbonise public sector buildings;
  • to build on initial proposals for critical enablers such as skills, information, finance and governance;
  • to strengthen the coordination of the UK strategy with devolved and local plans;
  • to take major strategic decisions, particularly addressing the relative costs of electricity and gas; and
  • to move forward rapidly with the large number of planned consultations and policy papers over the next year, ensuring promising proposals become concrete and timely policy.

We provide this advice in the context of heightened concerns over energy security and record increases in energy bills reflecting record highs in international gas prices. Policy design will have to reflect the new circumstances, which reinforce the need for urgent action to deliver the goals of the Heat and Buildings Strategy. Delivering on these goals will help to protect UK consumers from future price spikes and increase energy security by reducing energy needs and shifting demand from gas to electricity, which in future will be predominantly supplied from UK-based renewable generation.