Priti Patel blasts ‘crazy’ heat pump replacements as Sunak confirms delay to 'punitive' net zero measure

Priti Patel

Priti Patel has hit out at 'crazy' heat pump replacement plans

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 20/09/2023

- 18:28

The Prime Minister is concerned about public 'backlash'

Priti Patel has praised Rishi Sunak’s decision to water down a “punitive” measure that helped to define his net zero commitments.

The Prime Minister outlined ways in which he is attempting to shrug off a potential public “backlash” in a Downing Street speech.

Sunak is putting back a ban on new fossil fuel cars by five years in a major U-turn, along with a firm commitment to “never” force households to “rip-out their existing boiler and replace it with a heat pump”.

It was previously suggested that as plans to phase out gas boilers from 2035 come into effect, new properties would have to use heat pumps.


Speaking on GB News, former Home Secretary Priti Patel praised the move, dubbing the original plan “absolutely crazy”.

“I think this whole obsession towards heat pumps is dangerous”, she said on GB News.

“I have said that heat pumps could almost be a selling scandal. All these new homes that people are buying are coming with heat pumps but people don’t have the know how, the security of heat supply and all sorts of things.

“I think it’s right to pause this. With investment in technology, this can only improve, so it’s right we give this time.


“It’s absolutely crazy to say to people, ‘you’ve got a boiler, you have to rip it out by X date and fit a heat pump’.

“Fundamentally, it’s not for central government to determine and dictate what type of heating you have in your house.”

Rishi Sunak promised homeowners “far more time” to adapt to the Government’s net zero drive.

In the bid to decarbonise homes, the Prime Minister said “balance” is needed in their approach.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has been facing increased pressure over how he plans to deal with net zero


He said: "For a family living in a terraced house in Darlington, the upfront cost could be around £10,000.

"Even the most committed advocates of net zero must recognise that if our solution is to force people to pay that kind of money, support will collapse and we will simply never get there."

Sunak added: "We will give people far more time to make the necessary transition to heat pumps.

"We will never force anyone to rip out their existing boiler and replace it with a heat pump.

Patrick Christys and Priti Patel

The former Home Secretary spoke to Patrick Christys on GB News


"You will only have to make the switch when you're replacing your boiler anyway and even then not until 2035."

Patel told Patrick Christys that she is concerned about the Government introducing “punitive” measures on the British public as it pushes towards net zero.

“People feel there’s something going on that isn’t transparent. It’s too opaque”, she said.

“Let the public have their say. The issue about net zero and climate change is that we have to think about the public at the end of the day.

“We’re one of the fastest countries in the world when it comes to decarbonising, and that’s a good thing.

“The big message is, don’t hurt the British public through punitive measures and actually the state needs to back out of their lives.”

Rishi Sunak is under fire from green-minded Tories, environmentalists and industry figures as he unveiled plans to scale back.

Chris Skidmore, the Conservatives’ net zero champion, believes the move will “potentially destabilise thousands of jobs and see investment go elsewhere.

“Ultimately, the people who will pay the price for this will be householders, whose bills will remain higher as a Result of inefficient fossil fuels and and being dependent on volatile international fossil fuel prices.”

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