Majority of Brits oppose hydrogen heating trials

Picture of a industrial plant where fossil gas is turned into hydrogen

Just 15% of surveyed Brits would choose to take part in hydrogen heating trials, with almost three in five rejecting the idea outright, according to a new poll, commissioned by the Warm this Winter campaign.

It comes as parliamentarians continue to discuss the passage of the government-backed Energy Bill that would legislate for the creation of trial “hydrogen villages” at proposed towns, including Whitby and Redcar in the north of England.

Residents in both towns have voiced concerns about being forced to take part amidst warnings of long-term extra cost and heightened risk of explosion. These were also concerns topping a list of worries respondents to the poll have about hydrogen heating.

Just under half said they are concerned about the fact that hydrogen is four times as explosive as gas, and (46%) said they were worried that it could add costs to bills.

Cornwall Insight found that hydrogen could add on average 70% to bills from 2025. Home appliances will also have to be changed to accept this new fuel, with cautious estimates suggesting it would cost approximately £171 billion to convert appliances and infrastructure to hydrogen across the UK.

A recent Global Witness briefing pointed out that as well as issues over cost and risk, hydrogen will also do nothing to help the climate crisis, despite industry attempts to paint hydrogen heating as a climate solution.

While the Government is trying to reintroduce a levy on customer bills to pay for hydrogen projects in the Energy Bill being debated by MPs, just 3% of poll respondents would want to see hydrogen heating paid for through energy bills. Over two thirds (67%) wanting energy companies to foot the bill for any costs related to hydrogen heating.

Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness, which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, said:

“This polling makes it fundamentally clear that the fossil fuel industry is losing its battle to hoodwink the public into thinking hydrogen heating is a worthy solution to either the climate or energy crisis. People are rightly concerned about the risk of explosion and associated costs, particularly as hydrogen heating will not stop climate breakdown – in fact it could worsen it.”

“The absolute hammer blow for hydrogen heating is that, given the choice, the majority of people surveyed would reject taking part in the trials. Add this to the wave of opposition at proposed trial sites, any government pursuing this reckless agenda would be at best out of touch, at worst running foul of democracy. Hydrogen heating has no place in the Energy Bill.”

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

 “Hydrogen is not the solution to keeping people warm in the winter. Used in the home it is explosive, expensive and damaging to the environment as it is currently produced.

“MPs should keep in mind how unpopular this policy is with the public who can ill afford any more unnecessary increases to their energy bills.”