In recent announcements, the UK Government has revealed plans to change and reverse several key environmental policies.

On 20th September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a series of changes to some of the Government’s key green policies, which were introduced to support the UK in its net zero plans.

The Prime Minister justified the changes made to several climate commitments by stating that people faced ‘unacceptable costs’ in the pressure to go green and said there was a risk of ‘losing the consent of the British public’ if policies remained the same.

Key changes announced include:

  • Minimum EPC standards for rental properties scrapped
  • Ban on new oil and gas boilers delayed
  • Ban on sale of diesel and petrol vehicles delayed

We explain more about these changes below.

Minimum EPC standards for rental properties scrapped

Originally, the Government proposed that all rental properties be required by law to have an energy rating of Band C or above – for new tenancies, the deadline for this would be 2025 and for existing tenancies 2028. These EPC targets have now been scrapped, with the Prime Minister acknowledging the ‘huge’ cost of property upgrades, which would most likely be passed onto tenants through higher rent.

Instead, financial incentives will be given to landlords who increase the energy efficiency of their properties but there will be no legal requirement to do so.

This U-turn has caused further uncertainty and discontentment in an already unstable rental market, as many landlords had already started making upgrades to their properties to meet the minimum EPC standards and some people had left the private rental sector altogether as they were unable to afford the upgrades.

Ban on new oil and gas boilers delayed

The ban on oil and gas boilers being installed in new-build homes, as well as new coal heating in off-grid homes, has been delayed with the deadline pushed back from 2026 to 2035.

A 50% increase in the grant money being offered to homeowners to help fund boiler upgrade costs has also been declared, which will see the grant rise to £7,500 from 23rd October 2023.

Low-income households that fall below a yet to be specified threshold will also be considered exempt from making the upgrades. This is expected to include approximately 1/5 of UK homes.

Ban on sale of diesel and petrol vehicles delayed

In November 2020, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced there would be a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030. This announcement coincided with £4bn investment in charging infrastructure and battery production, aimed at encouraging drivers to make the switch from combustion to electric and hydrogen.

The ban on selling new cars and vehicles powered by internal combustion engines has now been moved to 2035. All sales of new hybrid and plug in hybrid vehicles will also be banned from 2035 – previously, these vehicles were granted a five-year ‘stay of execution’, which would have meant they had an additional five years before the ban applied to them.

How will these changes impact your business?

If you would like more information on the changes or reversals announced by the Government and how they may affect your business, contact us to speak to one of our private client experts or specialist financial team for advice on your next steps.