Industry has described as "disappointing" DECC's decision to remove passive flue gas heat recovery (PFGHR) from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

DECC announced the change on 22 July, after introducing the GDHIF on 9 June.

Roger Webb, director of the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) said: "DECC has been demanding that the heating industry finds ways to address carbon reduction and so we respond by investing heavily in R&D, upskilling and retraining our people and by developing innovative new technologies like PFGHR, and yet despite this it does a U-turn.

"Enough is enough, DECC need to make a decision and stick to it otherwise how can we have any confidence in the information it provides to us. PFGHR is a lost opportunity as it recovers any waste heat before it goes through the flue and is lost, with the recovered heat being recycled back through the boiler. This technology helps to cut carbon and provides considerable fuel savings, reducing consumer bills and helping address the issue of fuel poverty.”

Meanwhile Chris Yates, managing director of Johnson & Starley, said the early exit of the measure would have a seriously detrimental effect on the industry.

"When I first learned of the GDHIF, I felt it was a major step forward for the Green Deal programme and for consumers in particular. As a manufacturer of gas condensing boilers with a fully integrated flue gas heat recovery system, we were delighted that they were included as a measure. But for DECC to make changes so quickly after the launch when manufacturers have committed advertising budgets for the flue gas heat recovery systems, increased production capacity and most importantly, encouraged Green Deal Installers to invest in getting the additional accreditation for the flue gas heat recovery systems, it is a major blow.”

“Given how big a change this is, I am amazed we have seen no figures from government on the amount of vouchers issued to consumers for the flue gas heat recovery measure and only a reference that the number of EPCs have increased relative to a previous survey but no further details. Encouraged by Government, industry has spent a lot of money on launching the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund and this feels like a knee-jerk reaction to curtail what could have been a very successful scheme. My fear is that these changes could slow the whole scheme down to a very slow pace.

“I think a more detailed explanation is required on the rationale behind the changes. While government did state that they did not want the GDHIF to be another boiler replacement programme we need to see the justification. Government has done a good job in recent years to engage with industry but this undermines confidence as we have always stated that we need as much certainty as possible around schemes like this.”