Owners of listed homes face £50,000 heat pump eco penalty

Owners of listed homes face bills of more than £50,000 to install a heat pump. The Government has promoted this new heating technology and offers grants for their installation.

But the grants will make little difference to historic properties, which face much higher bills because of the costs of installing insulation to make a heat pump work efficiently. On an unlisted property the pump and installation cost £12,000 to £15,000. Strict conservation rules mean planning permission is required before an air source heat pump can be installed in a listed property, adding to the costs.

Ground source heat pumps usually need no permission, but are more disruptive and are also expensive to install.

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Listed Properties, estimated that homeowners would incur costs of more than £50,000 for the insulation, excavation and new radiators necessary for a ground source pump.

Even if planning rules were changed to accommodate air source pumps, Mr Mackinlay put the average cost of installing one in a listed property at between £20,000 and £25,000.

For some homeowners the bill will be significantly more. Alan Hearne said the cost of works his listed Georgian house in Oxfordshire would need to ensure a heat pump worked efficiently was half the value of the entire property. He said: “The amount needed to make a heat pump work is extraordinary. The Government needs to find another solution because its heat pump drive just won’t work for bigger, older homes.”

The Listed Property Owners’ Club has called for heat pumps no longer to require planning and for VAT to be cut on eco improvements in older homes. The club warned listed homes had been “treated as irrelevant” in the fight against climate change at “every opportunity”. 

Brian Berry, of the Federation of Master Builders, said the costs of installing a heat pump in older buildings soon snowballed.

“Homes need to be well insulated and may require extensive energy efficiency improvements and costs will vary depending on the needs of the property, but in some cases could involve fitting new piping, radiators and insulation.” said Mr Berry. 

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