Category - Boilers
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

20 Mar : Updated 22 Apr ● 7 min read

Will gas boilers be banned in Scotland?

With rumours rife that gas boilers are to be banned by 2025, you might be concerned that you need to find an alternative to fossil fuels.

Scotland has some of the toughest climate targets in the world. In recent years, the Scottish government has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. This involves banning gas boilers in Scotland and switching to alternative energy sources. But is it really possible, and will gas boilers be banned in Scotland?

This post explores the realities of the gas boiler ban in Scotland and what it could mean for homeowners. We look at how the ban could affect people's homes, their bills, and the environment. 

We also review some home heating alternatives to burning fossil fuels, such as installing a heat pump or electric energy.

Read on to learn more about these proposed regulations and some climate targets of other countries to compare.

Why is there a gas boiler ban proposal in Scotland?

The proposal to ban gas boilers in Scotland is being driven by the Scottish Government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To support this commitment, the last coal-fired power station closed in 2016. These plans, as well as the proposed gas boiler ban, all fall under the Holyrood Plans.

Gas boilers are a significant source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions contributing to climate change. The Scottish Government has set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045, five years ahead of the rest of the UK. The gas boiler ban is seen as a key part of meeting this target.

There are also concerns about the security of the gas supply, as Scotland relies on imports for much of its gas needs. A shift to electric and renewable heating sources would reduce this reliance.

So, are gas boilers going to be banned in Scotland? 

Well, it's not yet set in stone, and the Scottish Government is currently consulting on the proposal. However, if it goes ahead, it will likely come into effect from 2025 onwards.

Patrick Harvie, the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, said, "Scotland's homes and buildings account for approximately a fifth of all our emissions, and we know that we need to take bold, ambitious steps to ensure we meet our climate obligations" (source).

Environmental groups have welcomed the proposal. However, some experts have raised concerns about the feasibility of the ban and the potential impact on fuel poverty.

The ban on gas boilers means that new homes must use alternative heating sources such as heat pumps or biomass boilers. They can no longer use direct emissions heating systems running on fossil fuels (like gas-fired boilers).

These alternative heating sources emit far less CO2 than gas boilers, helping to reduce Scotland's emissions. The energy standards of all new homes will be cut by nearly a third.

The possible impact of the ban

The possible impact of the ban on gas-fired boilers is still unknown, as the Scottish Government is still in consultation with stakeholders. However, there will likely be some impacts on householders, businesses, and the economy as a whole.

The most immediate impact will be on those who currently have gas boilers in their homes, as they will need to find an alternative heating source.

This could mean installing a new type of boiler or making other changes to the property, such as installing insulation. There may also be an impact on businesses that install or maintain gas boilers, as there would be a reduced demand for their services.

In the longer term, the ban will positively impact Scotland's carbon emissions, as gas-fired boilers are a significant source of emissions.

There could also be economic impacts, as installing new boilers and other energy efficiency measures could create jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Alternatives to gas boiler heating systems

  • Electric boilers - Instead of powered by gas, these boilers run on electricity.

  • Biomass boilers - These boilers work like your regular gas boilers but burn biomass, which is biological material such as wood.

  • Air source heat pumps - There are two types of heat pumps, both of which work by drawing air from outside to provide heat. Air-to-air and air-to-water heat pumps can both provide underfloor heating and heat water for the home.

  • Solar thermal panels - The panels absorb heat from the sun during the day, which is then used to heat the home in much the same way as a new gas boiler.

  • Ground source heat pump - It gets pretty hot around 2 metres underground, especially when compared to the air temperature. A network of pumps extracts this heat and uses it for the house as central heating.

  • Infrared heating systems/panels - This is a unique home heating system that works by turning electrical energy into radiant heat. The difference in temperature between the warmer object (the heater) and the colder object (the person and the home), results in a transfer of heat.

  • Solar-powered electric heaters - These types of heating systems include storage heaters, immersion heaters and more. They’re powered by solar PV panels.

How other countries have tackled climate change

Many countries worldwide are taking steps to tackle climate change, and some have even implemented bans on gas boilers. Here we take a look at how other countries have mitigated climate change.

  • Sweden was one of the first countries to implement a carbon tax in 1991, and since then, they have reduced their emissions by 25%.

  • Norway has also succeeded with its carbon tax, which was introduced in 1991. The country has managed to reduce its emissions by 30%. In fact, they plan to triple this carbon tax by 2030. The price will go from €60 to €200. Norway plans to reduce emissions by 45% in 2030.

  • In 2009, the UK became the first country in the world to commit to legally binding emissions reductions under the Climate Change Act. The UK has since cut its emissions by 42%.

  • Denmark is often seen as a leader in renewables, with over 50% of its electricity coming from wind and solar power. The country has also set ambitious targets to become fossil fuel-free by 2050.

  • Germany is another European country leading the way in renewables and cutting the use of fossil fuel sources. 30% of its electricity comes from renewable sources. They want to get all their energy from renewable sources by 2035. The country has also committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

  • China is investing heavily in renewable energy. China spent around $41 billion on solar projects in 2022, a 173% increase on the previous year.

  • India is working to increase energy efficiency and develop renewable energy sources. This is a good idea for the country as they rank third largest in energy consumption in the world. India has invested in wind power, solar power, biomass, small hydropower and more to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

What are the other bans to help with global warming?

There are a total of 400 ways that have been set out to reduce global warming. One is to ban the sale of highly polluting petrol and diesel cars. The government actually wants to reduce the use of cars overall by 20%.

The future is looking toward electric cars, which is especially noticeable with the amount of charging points across Scotland.

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Final thoughts

In conclusion, the gas boiler ban in Scotland has been proposed as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

It is not yet clear whether or not the UK-wide ban will go ahead in 2025. It’s worth considering for those looking to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their environmental footprint.

Regardless of what happens, reducing our reliance on fossil fuel sources should be an ongoing priority to ensure a sustainable future.

To find out more, check out our previous article debunking common myths regarding the gas boiler ban in the rest of the UK.

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