Climate and energy groups urge Lords to say no to forced hydrogen trials

Under the proposed Energy Bill, firms would be allegedly able to access homes for any purpose related to the hydrogen trial including, the forced installation of hydrogen boilers without residents’ consent

Greenpeace UK, Friends of the Earth UK, Uplift, and other organisations have joined forces with the international NGO Global Witness in a bid to protect residents in proposed hydrogen trial sites.

In a letter sent on Friday to members of the UK House of Lords, the groups expressed concern over provisions in the Energy Bill that would compel residents to switch to hydrogen heating.

The signatories argue that such a move would not only be dangerous and polluting but also prohibitively expensive and are urging the Lords to take action to prevent the proposed trials from going ahead.

The groups stated: “In spite of these risks, the current draft of the Energy Bill could enable the creation of “hydrogen village trials” which would force up to 2,000 homes in the trial area to convert their home heating. The trial will either be located in Redcar, Teesside, or Whitby, Ellesmere Port, depending on a government decision.

“As part of measures to enable hydrogen trials, the Bill also increases the powers of access granted to gas companies. Currently, gas distribution operators are allowed to enter people’s homes if there is a gas leak.

“The Bill proposes to extend these powers of entry to allow companies to access people’s homes for any reason connected to the trial, which could theoretically involve forcibly installing hydrogen boilers without residents’ consent.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told ELN: “No one will be forced to use hydrogen. We expect Gas Distribution Networks to only ever use powers of entry as a last resort to ensure consumers’ safety, for example, to inspect and test pipes and valves and only following court approval and once all other attempts to contact property owners and reach an agreement are exhausted.

“The hydrogen heating village trial will deliver essential evidence to inform the government’s strategic decisions in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heat. No trials will take place without strong local support.

“This will be a critical factor in the final selection of the trial location, and the rights of consumers will be protected before, during and after the trial.”

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