Propertymark says only a national retrofitting programme can make UK homes more energy efficient - and it says a new government initiative is merely “a drop in the ocean”.
The UK government’s three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme began over the weekend, offering £5,000 grants to property owners in England and Wales towards the cost of an air source heat pump, £6,000 for a ground source heat pump, and £5,000 for a biomass boiler for properties in rural locations and those not connected to the gas grid.
The scheme will encourage people to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, which run on electricity and extract energy from the air or ground.
This is being introduced alongside a new 0% VAT rate on selected energy efficiency materials and grants available to low-income households through some local authorities.
Ministers say that switching to low carbon heating will cut emissions and reduce the UK's dependency on fossil fuels, as well as its exposure to global price spikes in gas.
It will also support up to 240,000 jobs across the country by 2035.
However, the agents’ trade body Propertymark is not impressed.
Policy and campaigns head Timothy Douglas says: “The UK's housing stock is amongst the least energy efficient in Europe so the challenge to retrofit is huge.
“Pockets of funding are starting to emerge but are a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.
“The property sector needs a national retrofitting programme that's linked to realistic and achievable targets and dedicated, long-term grants that take into account the age, condition, and size of properties.
“Unless landlords and homeowners are given sustained financial incentives, it is unlikely any real progress will be made in helping them to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy bills."