The Government’s strategy for making UK heating supplies green would cost £12,000 for every household and be a “colossal waste of money”, a leading think tank has warned.

Policy Exchange said plans drawn up under the Coalition government for “heat pump” technology to be installed in more than 80pc of UK homes by 2050 would be “very costly and challenging” and called for a rethink by the new Business and Energy Department.

Currently, more than 80pc of UK homes use gas boilers for heating, contributing significantly to UK carbon emissions.  To hit the climate change targets, heating will largely need to be decarbonised.

The Government’s most recent strategy envisages widespread use of heat pumps, a technology that uses a reverse refrigeration process to draw heat from the air, the ground or a water source and increase the temperature. Heat pumps require electricity to power the process and involve significant upheaval for the installation of the equipment in every home.

Policy Exchange estimates that the total cost of the plan to fit heat pumps in most homes could reach £300bn .

A government spokesman said: “Government has no intention of forcing households into making expensive changes to their heating and has not set a target for electric heat pumps. So we do not recognise the numbers produced.”

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