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Shut down Britain’s gas network and roll out heat pumps, Sunak told

Sir John Armitt warns natural gas supply must end by 2050 for UK to hit climate targets.

Rishi Sunak has been urged to shut down Britain’s gas network and spend billions on rolling out heat pumps, in a major intervention by the country’s infrastructure tsar.

Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), warned that the supply of natural gas to all buildings must stop by 2050 if the UK is to hit its climate targets.

He is urging the Prime Minister to commit to a total ban on gas boiler sales by 2035, and to set out how the national gas network will be shut down gradually over the next 27 years.

The intervention came as a cold snap sent the UK’s demand for gas surging to a peak of 135 million cubic metres on Monday – the most since February this year and the largest in an October since 2021.

In the national infrastructure assessment, the NIC says heat pumps are the only viable alternative to heat homes on masse and that millions of households should get subsidies worth more than £6bn to encourage their adoption. It called for £1.3bn a year to be spent on heat pumps for poorer homes and £1.9bn on grants worth £7,500 each for other homeowners to buy the devices. A further £3.2bn a year should be spent on energy efficiency and heat pump installations for social housing, the NIC said.

The assessment dismisses calls for hydrogen to be piped into homes for heating and cooking, arguing it will saddle consumers with massive extra costs.

It says: “Gas boilers need to be phased out and replaced by heat pumps. There is no public policy case for hydrogen to be used to heat individual buildings. It should be ruled out as an option.”

The Government pushed back against the findings, insisting that the gas network would “always be part of our energy system...

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