EDINBURGH, Scotland, February 1 /PRNewswire/ -- SNIPEF (The Scottish Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation) which represents nearly 700 plumbing and heating businesses in Scotland (employing nearly 3500 operatives) has set up a Public Petition through the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to follow the lead of Westminster and introduce a Boiler Scrappage Scheme in Scotland.

The Petition which can be accessed at http://www.snipef.org/boilerscrappage.htm, calls on the Scottish Parliament to introduce a financial incentive similar to that which applies in England to encourage the replacement of older, inefficient central heating boilers.

SNIPEF Director Robert Burgon said, By introducing a boiler scrappage scheme in Scotland it will mean the Scottish Government will have a great opportunity not only to help with fuel poverty by reducing the large number of inefficient boilers which exist, but also to help to reduce Scotland's carbon footprint. We have decided to launch this as an e-petition as a means of demonstrating to the Scottish Government that such a scheme would be popular in Scotland and we encourage people to sign the e-petition before the closing date of 19 February 2010.

Robert Burgon added, With the likelihood of continuing increases in fuel costs the incidence of fuel poverty will regrettably continue to increase. Householders with older, inefficient boilers will be doubly affected as their boilers use more fuel than would be the case with a modern boiler.

Finally, Robert said, We understand the government's position over focusing the assistance to those who are affected by fuel poverty and we are sure that a scheme can be developed which both does this and addresses the environmental damage caused by inefficient central heating boilers.

Notes for editors

1 SNIPEF (Scottish Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation) was established in 1923 and has just under 800 member businesses, which employ nearly 4500 operatives.

2 Reasons for introducing a boiler scrappage scheme:

2.1 Such incentive schemes work

The car scrappage scheme (on which the boiler scrappage scheme was based) has had a significant impact in encouraging car owners to replace older, inefficient and environmentally unfriendly vehicles. It is believed that a boiler scrappage scheme would have a similar effect in relation to encouraging the replacement of inefficient central heating boilers.

2.2 The scheme would help the environment

Scotland is correctly seen as a leader in the global quest to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) believes that central heating boilers account for 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions in a gas heated home. It claims that if everyone in the UK with gas central heating installed a high efficiency condensing boiler, we would save 6.7 million tones of carbon dioxide a year, as much as the annual emissions of 1.2 million homes.

The Scheme which has been introduced in England provides financial incentives to enable the installation of 125,000 new high efficiency boilers which the UK Government claims is the equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off the road.

Changes to the Scottish Building Regulations in 2007 mean that any new boiler fitted must be a condensing high efficiency model which means that there is a guaranteed environmental benefit from a boiler scrappage scheme (unlike the car scrappage scheme under which inefficient new vehicles could be purchased).

2.3 Consumers would enjoy lower utility bills

With recent increases in fuel prices and the likely continuing increase in gas and oil particularly, the incidence of fuel poverty will continue to increase. Householders with older, inefficient boilers are doubly affected as their boilers use more of the expensive fuel than would be the case with a modern replacement boiler. It is believed that a new 'A' rated condensing boiler and better controls could reduce the household fuel bills by up to a quarter (where an old 'G' rated boiler is being replaced). The following table is taken from the DEFRA Boiler Efficiency website (http://www.sedbuk.com) which shows the actual savings which could be obtained if a new boiler is installed:

Typical Annual Fuel Costs Seasonal Flat Bungalow Terraced Semi- Detached efficiency detached Old boiler (heavy weight) 55% GBP267 GBP341 GBP354 GBP397 GBP550 Old boiler (light weight) 65% GBP231 GBP293 GBP304 GBP340 GBP470 New boiler (non-condensing) 78% GBP197 GBP249 GBP258 GBP289 GBP396 New boiler (condensing) 88% GBP178 GBP224 GBP232 GBP259 GBP355

2.4 Support for businesses and employment

The credit crunch and economic recession have had a significant negative impact on many of Scotland's plumbing and heating businesses (the majority of which are micro businesses). Workload has decreased, there has been significant downward pressure on prices (which were already extremely competitive) and many plumbers and heating engineers have been made redundant.

A Scottish boiler replacement scheme would provide a much needed boost to the plumbing and heating industry and its workforce in Scotland.

While in England installation must be carried out by a Competent Person's Scheme (which do not apply in Scotland) we propose that, in order to qualify for the incentive, householders must engage the services of an installer which is registered with the Construction Licensing Executive (CLE) Plumbing Industry Licensing Scheme. In addition, gas systems must be installed by an installer registered with Gas Safe Register.

2.5 A Scottish scheme would reduce consumer and installer confusion

The existing English scheme has been widely promoted in all aspects of the media across the UK which has led to significant confusion both within the industry and among consumers. SNIPEF members have reported customer awareness of the Scheme and have received requests for information and many householders are putting off work until such time that the Scottish government decides if it will introduce a similar scheme.

SOURCE: SNIPEF (The Scottish SOURCE: Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation)

CONTACT: For more information contact Robert Burgon on +44(0)131-225-2255or Alan Wilson on +44(0)7801-741351