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London mayor launches new clean heat boiler initiative

The announcement by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to encourage London’s SMEs to replace their old, inefficient boilers with modern, energy-efficient models has been welcomed by the Builders Merchants’ Federation.

The  £10 million Cleaner Heat Cashback scheme is designed to help London’s smaller companies save money on their energy bills and improve the capital’s air quality.

Shirley Rodrigues, London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “Businesses could save hundreds of pounds a year on energy bills by switching from an older, inefficient boiler or heating system – and this is exactly the kind of initiative that will help us achieve the Mayor’s ambition of making London a zero-carbon city by 2050.

“Tackling London’s filthy air is one of the Mayor’s top priorities and this is just the latest in a package of measures that he has introduced to improve the quality of the air we breathe.”

The offer is for SMEs based in London with old, inefficient heating system to apply for between 30% to 40% cashback towards a modern, cleaner heating system. It is a first-come, first-serve offer available to building owners, tenants responsible for property maintenance, or tenants who receive permission from landlords to change heating systems. Cleaner Heat Cashback will run until 31 March 2020 – or the £10 million has been allocated – whichever comes first.

To be eligible, heating must be working, a minimum size of 70kW and either a working gas, oil or LPG boiler aged at least 10 years, or coal or biomass of any age. Replacements must be:

  1. at least 90% efficient gas or LPG boiler with NOx emissions of 40mg/kWh or less
  2. or a renewable technology (e.g. heat pump or solar thermal) or connected to a heat network.

Successful applicants can receive 30% cashback when installing (a) above or 35% cashback when installing (b) above. Firms within an Air Quality Focus Areas can claim an additional 5% cashback. Installations must be undertaken by an accredited, manufacturer-approved installer.

The BMF was involved in discussions prior to the announcement with City Hall staff and other heating industry partners to consider working arrangements such as eligibility and practicalities.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We welcome and support this announcement that builds on earlier residential schemes by successive Mayors. The fact that Cleaner Heat is now aimed at commercial premises signals not only a political determination to tackle poor air quality, but seeks to change the thinking of SME owners towards their day-to-day running costs”.

“The 30% rate is generous and ought to entice companies to act. Although his offer is confined to the capital, the Mayor has moved to help London firms to cut bills, reduce emissions, improve air quality and encourage further investment”.

Newcomb added that in an ideal world, it would be better to have a coherent, fabric-first approach to improve the thermal and energy performance of homes and workplaces. However, in the absence of proper, long-term national policy, it is not surprising that cities like London decide to use the powers available to them to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

The Energy Saving Trust will administer the scheme. To learn more and apply:  https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/cleaner-heat-cashback

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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