The Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM) will no longer launch as planned this month, and instead should begin exactly one year hence, in April 2025.

The CHMM is a policy that would see boiler manufacturers fined for not selling enough heat pumps as a proportion of their total boiler sales. The aim of the CHMM has always been to increase the number of heat pumps being installed in the UK, as part of the government’s net-zero carbon strategy. 

In early February, rumours were circulating in the press that the government was planning to drop the CHMM entirely, but clearly this hasn’t come to fruition. Interestingly, with the policy being pushed back one year instead of being scrapped, there’s a very strong chance (if recent polling data is to be believed) that come April 2025, we will no longer have a Conservative government in the UK.

Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the EUA, and ardent critic of the CHMM, suggested that this decision to delay is a political one in nature. He said: “The government have set a trap for a future administration, which according to the polls is likely to be Labour, knowing the ‘Boiler Tax’ from 2025 is likely to be around £200.”

Whether any potential Labour government will look to amend the policy before it comes into force is anyone’s guess at this stage, but most quarters would likely agree that the CHMM could benefit from a fresh pair of eyes on it. 

Indeed, the policy has always struck me as being a bit out of step with how the market operates in actuality, with heating system specification typically being decided by the consumer/homeowner and the installer, with the manufacturer having limited involvement in the process.

Regardless, the danger of letting heating policy become increasingly politicised is that we lose sight of the goal that the majority believe we should all be working together to achieve – the decarbonisation of heat. 

The planet won’t thank us if strong egos get in the way of the effective action required to change our industry for the better.