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Charity calls on Welsh public to take up £5k grant offer to make homes greener

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A £450 million fund to replace gas boilers with heat pumps launches this month, and innovation foundation Nesta is warning that Welsh households must take action to avoid missing out.

This comes as recent polling by the charity suggests that 55% of Welsh people would support a scheme to roll out heat pumps to all homes across Wales. 

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Heat pumps are a low-carbon, high-efficiency alternative to gas boilers that extract heat from the air or the ground to provide heating for a building. They are powered by electricity and work with existing home heating systems such as radiators and underfloor heating. They are already widely used in many other European countries and the best option available today to decarbonise homes at scale.

The new subsidy scheme will offer householders across England and Wales a one-off £5,000 grant towards the cost of a heat pump. The grants will be available on a first come first served basis and, according to analysis by Nesta, could help to bring the lifetime cost of a heat pump in line with a boiler. 

However the charity fears that a lack of awareness of how heat pumps work and their benefits may prevent many people in Wales from taking advantage of the scheme. 

A representative poll of 1,000 Welsh adults, conducted by YouGov for Nesta, surveyed respondents on their knowledge and perceptions of heat pumps. 32% of those polled didn’t know what appliance a heat pump would replace, 43% didn’t know what powered one, and Nesta also found that opinions of heat pumps were easily influenced by how information was presented.

Andy Regan, Nesta Cymru’s Sustainable Future Mission Manager said, “As heat pumps are currently the best available low carbon alternative to a gas boiler we hope these grants will be successful in speeding up their adoption, and we don’t want Wales to be left behind. 

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“The figures from our polling show that people in Wales are positive about a government scheme that would see heat pumps rolled out to every home in Wales. But there is clearly a significant lack of understanding around the practicalities and benefits of installing a heat pump.

“Heat pumps are a much more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to boilers. With the right insulation, radiators and heating controls, they can work for all types of homes. That’s why we are keen to see heat pumps on the agenda for the government’s upcoming heat strategy 2023. In the meantime, helping people understand more about heat pumps, and the availability of grants, is critical to ensure we maximise take up of this offer.

“The Welsh Government has made strong commitments around reaching net zero. We hope they will play an active role in encouraging and supporting people in Wales to apply for these grants, and to providing clear and trustworthy information around heat pumps.”

Nesta is working in Wales to test and scale solutions to stop homes contributing to climate change, accelerating the decarbonisation of household activities in Wales. 

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