Government delays ‘boiler tax’ until after general election

Manufacturer fines for non-delivery of heat pumps to start in 2025

The government’s target to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 risks being in ‘serious jeopardy’ following an announcement that the scheme to support their rollout by manufacturers is being delayed by a year.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) said on 14 March that the launch of the Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM) has been postponed to April 2025.

The CHMM is designed to ensure manufacturers install a certain number of heat pumps for every fossil fuel boiler that they sell. Under the scheme, which was due to come into force next month, manufacturers would have to pay a £3,000 fine for every heat pump installation they fail to deliver.

However, DESNZ has said the existing 2025/26 CHMM target for manufacturers to deliver heat pump installations equivalent to 6% of the boilers they sell would remain in place for the scheme’s first year. 

The announcements followed a report in The Sunday Times that Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State at DESNZ, was considering scrapping the CHMM after boiler companies hiked the prices of their products to cover the expected fines.

David Cowdrey, director of external affairs at the MCS Charitable Foundation, said the CHMM’s postponement was ‘extremely disappointing’. ‘We need clear and consistent policy more than anything, and without that the UK’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 is in serious jeopardy,’ he said.

Charlotte Lee, CEO of the Heat Pump Association, said: ‘While this does not provide the certainty industry desperately needs, it does offer an opportunity for the government to deliver functioning processes in a transparent manner, to enable the mechanism to work.’