Gas boilers poised to become largest nitrous oxide emitters by 2025

A homeowner turning down the temperature of a gas boiler (PA Wire)
A homeowner turning down the temperature of a gas boiler (PA Wire)

Gas boilers are on track to become the largest nitrous oxide emitters in the capital by 2025, experts have warned.

Boilers currently account for around 21 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions across London and environmentalists warn it could be come an even bigger source of local pollution in the near future.

The post-pandemic shift to remote working is believed to be one of the factors that has driven an increase in emission forecasts.

Experts have called for the Government to phase out gas boilers and switch to alternative measures such as heat pumps.

It comes after a cold snap sent demand for gas surging to a peak of 135 million cubic metres last month - the most since February this year and the largest in an October since 2021.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) says heat pumps are the only viable alternative to heat homes en masse and that millions of households should receive subsidies worth more than £6bn toencourage their adoption.

It has called for £1.3bn a year to be spent on heat pumps for poorer homes and £1.9bn on grants of £7,000 each for other homeowners to buy them. A further £3.2bn a year should be spent on energy efficiency and heat pump installations for social housing, the NIC said.

Mark Maslin, a Professor of Earth System Science at UCL, said: “Our world is changing and it is changing for the better - but it means we must be critical of old technology and embrace newer cleaner and amsafer technology.

“For example gas boilers are not only a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions, they are also a risk to public health. In fact, by 2025, they will be the largest contributor to NOx emissions,overtaking cars.

“There is compelling environmental and public health arguments in favour of legislative action to help homes transition away from gas boilers and converting to options such as thermal storage boilers andheat pumps.

“It is a double win; better for our air in London, and better from our greenhouse gas emissions. If we combine this with switching from gas cooking to electric cooking we will greatly improve indoor air quality for millions of people.”

Cleantech company tepeo has called for the removal of gas boilers and increased adoption of low-carbon heating solutions.

tepeo Founder and CEO Johan Du Plessis said: A technology-agnostic approach to low-carbon heating is essential if we are to accelerate the UK’s transition to Net Zero, while also eliminating these harmful emissions. We must remember that ensuring we’re all breathing in clean air is about far more thancars.”