GOVERNMENT NEWS

Labour unveils details for new publicly owned energy company in manifesto

Labour has announced plans to establish a new publicly-owned company, Great British Energy, as part of its manifesto released today. The company aims to drive investment in clean, home-grown energy production and will be owned by the British public.

Tories’ Manifesto for July Election: Impact on Energy Transition

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled the Conservative Party’s General Election Manifesto, containing pledges to fast-track next-generation nuclear and to put decisions on the next phase of the UK’s net-zero transition to a Parliamentary vote.

General Election manifestos outline heat policy plans

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have both sought to make their mark on plans for incentivising sustainable buildings during the next parliament. Some of the UK’s main political parties have outlined varying scales of commitments to reduce the costs and environmental impact of heating buildings in their election manifestos.

SIA urges Scottish government to reverse position on wood burning stoves

The Stove Industry Association (SIA) has asked the Scottish government to reverse legislation that has seen a ban on wood burning stoves in new build properties, and to reconsider proposed plans that would see them banned in existing homes.

SECTOR UPDATES

PHMI stats show plumbing & Heating sales “holding steady in Q1 2024”

Figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in the Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index for the first quarter of 2024 paint a picture of a relatively flat market, with prices appearing more stable. For Quarter 1 2024 v Quarter 1 2023, total value sales in Q1 2024 were -3.6% lower compared with the same period last year. Volume sales were -6.4% lower, while prices rose by +3.0%. With one less trading day in the first quarter of 2024, like-for-like sales were -2.1% lower than Q1 2023.

National Grid to offer year-round cash for cutting power use

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has announced that the Demand Flexibility Service, which incentivises UK households to reduce electricity usage, will now be available year-round. This move aims to prevent blackouts during peak demand by encouraging families to switch off appliances when notified of a tight energy supply.

Hull’s £250m hydrogen plant gets green light

Plans for a £250 million green hydrogen production facility in Hull have been approved by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Meld Energy, the developer, will construct the 100-megawatt facility at Saltend Chemicals Park. The new facility will produce green hydrogen through electrolysis, using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This process will help meet up to 30% of Saltend Chemicals Park’s hydrogen demand, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 125,000 tonnes annually. Saltend Chemicals Park hosts several major chemical businesses, including BP Petrochemicals Technology, Vivergo Fuels, Yara, Mitsubishi Chemicals UK, Ineos, Air Products and Triton Power station.

Revised ICOM water treatment guide released

Half of all UK construction workers, or 1.5 million people, have worked in a dangerous environment while suffering from poor mental health, and close to 700,000 have sustained injuries, according to new research from business insurer QBE.

For the first time, QBE research shows the cost to the UK construction industry from poor mental health. QBE surveyed 362 UK construction workers about their mental health at work. The results indicate that even with the increased risk of injury, they are likely to continue to work.

INSTALLER NEWS

MCS announces delay to scheme revision

Plans to revise the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for the installation of heat pumps and other low carbon energy systems have been delayed to allow for more engagement with training providers. Originally set to be launched this summer, the overhaul of the accreditation process and requirements has now been pushed back to January 2025. MCS accreditation is currently a mandatory requirement for any installations receiving grant funding via the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme incentive.

Rogue plumber admits to defrauding customers of £23,000

A Suffolk plumber has admitted taking thousands of pounds from customers for work that was never carried out or was sub-standard. Grant Phillips took a total of £23,511 from 11 customers between April 2021 and October 2023 while operating under three different names.

Baxi announces heat pump installer support partnerships

Heating systems group says it has partnered with low carbon service suppliers to help streamline the process for installers to offer accredited heat pump design Baxi has announced a number of partnerships intended to provide installers with technical and administrative support for the efficient installation of heat pumps. The equipment manufacturer say it has reached an agreement with a number of specialists to aid engineers to design and install heat pumps that meet specific design and paperwork requirements to comply with the national Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) incentive.

Big rise in self-employed tradespeople

New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that there has been a surge in tradespeople turning self-employed over the last few months. Between December and March, the figure shot up from 227,000 to 274,000. This represents an increase of 47,000, or 21%, which is the biggest jump in 15 years, since the winter of 2008.

Social media warning for professional trades

Tradespeople are being warned that thieves are using social media to target them for their valuable tools and equipment, with four in five burglars use social media to find and select potential victims, making those posting online easy targets.

Motoring insurance experts from Quotezone.co.uk are urging tradespeople to avoid posting pictures of work vans and equipment online because advertising or posting business photos and information to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could entice criminals.

Powered tools prime target for thieves

New data reveals powered hand tools to be the most commonly targeted items by thieves preying on tradespeople. Analysis from vehicle lease company Lease Van shows over £98 million worth of tools were reported stolen across the UK, with 44,514 thefts reported to the police last year. Tools thefts have been on the rise yearly, with incidents being reported every 12 minutes during 2023. This has a knock-on effect for workers trying to earn a living, as tradespeople have been said to have lost an estimated £82 million worth of jobs in 2023 due to stolen equipment.

PRODUCT NEWS

Cornwall is the UK’s hot spot for renewable energy installations

Nearly 38,000 MCS-certified renewable energy installations have been made in Cornwall; more than any other local authority in the UK. When it comes to small-scale renewable energy installations, there’s nowhere quite like Cornwall.

Official figures show BUS applications surge but still well below target

Figures newly released by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero show that heat pump applications have almost doubled year-on-year.

Report backs expanded heat pump use to accelerate clean energy switch

New global research says improved investment in encouraging heat pump use will have a positive ongoing impact on the cost of cleaner energy compared to using fossil fuels Incentives to expand the use of low carbon technologies such as heat pumps will improve the longer-term affordability of cleaner power, the International Energy Agency (IEA) argues.

CONSUMER NEWS

British Gas offers half price electricity

British Gas has introduced PeakSave Green Flex events, offering customers more chances to save on energy bills and support a greener grid this summer. During these events, which occur when there is plenty of renewable energy available, customers can get half price electricity.

Majority of UK Public Calls for Greater Investment in Renewable Energy

A substantial majority of the UK public, 78%, are urging the government to increase investment in renewable energy sources. This finding comes from The Eco Experts’ latest National Home Energy Survey. With a general election approaching on July 4th, these findings highlight the public’s strong preference for green policy initiatives. The survey results reveal a significant demand for wind and solar power.

‘Energy customers support fair tariffs for all’

E.ON Next commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey following news that the energy regulator Ofgem is considering lifting the ban on acquisition-only tariffs for energy companies. The survey sought public opinion on whether the best deals should be restricted to new customers.

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