Scheme to replace 65 boilers across city criticised as 'impractical'

File photo dated 22/01/15 of controls on a domestic gas boiler. The Government has been accused of "

Controls of a domestic gas boiler - Credit: PA

A plan to replace old and inefficient boilers in homes across Norwich has been slammed as impractical and untimely by the city’s Green opposition. 

The scheme will use £496,000 of government funds to replace boilers that are over 15 years old with modern replacements.

About 65 homes will benefit from the improvements, which will also cover the replacement of poor-quality radiators and the double-glazing of windows.

The scheme will be targeted at residents who own their own homes but need help paying their council tax. 

A report by Beth Jones, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for safer and stronger neighbourhoods, notes that even before the pandemic, there had been a national rise in excess winter deaths. Public Health England estimate that 10pc of such deaths are due to cold homes.

Beth Jones, Labour city councillor. Pic: Labour Party.

Norwich City Council's Labour cabinet member for safer and stronger neighbourhoods, Beth Jones - Credit: Submitted

But at a Wednesday (April 6) cabinet meeting, Green opposition leader Lucy Galvin said the scheme went against a national move away from gas heating. 

Ms Galvin said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable that people die of the cold, and so I’m really pleased to see this… and the double glazing is really good.

Most Read

"But the boilers themselves are going to have to be replaced in the future. So replacing gas boilers with gas boilers now isn't very practical actually, or timely.

“Given the global gas shortage, which is causing firms to go bust and massive hikes in prices, not to mention the supply issues from Russia, a move away from gas can’t come soon enough. 

Green Party city councillor Lucy Galvin

Norwich City Council's Green opposition leader Lucy Galvin - Credit: Contributed

“In two years, the government’s banning them [gas boilers] from newly-built houses. In 2035, all installations of gas boilers will be banned, and gas prices are only going to go up.”

She asked if there was a longer-term strategy to address the problem. 

Ms Jones responded: “I’m not going to apologise for something that is going to keep people alive. Yes, I’m all in favour of anything we can do that is sustainable and any opportunity in the longer term around that, but I also want to weigh that up with getting real benefits for our residents right now. 

“And actually this is a solution that does have a reduction in carbon emissions, but it also helps people stay healthy and stay alive, and I think we have to balance all those things - we can’t see them in a silo.”

The plan was approved, along with a contract to insulate 45 council-owned homes.