Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, visited boiler and heat pump manufacturer, Vaillant, HQ in Belper, to see production of its low carbon technology in action and gain a clearer view of how government and industry can work in partnership to ensure the UK can successfully transition to low carbon technologies.
The tour began with the Labour leader viewing the company’s new heat pump line, where UK manufacture of its aroTHERM plus air source heat pump is currently being ramped up with a view to being fully operational by the end of 2022.
Sir Keir took a keen interest in the variety of new skills needed to successfully work on the new production line as well as the job opportunities created. He spent time chatting to employees who had retrained or upskilled to work on the new line and discussed what opportunities this had opened up for them.
He was also keen to speak with those new to the industry and went on to meet several apprentices, graduates and interns from across the business to discuss how they felt about being involved in this exciting transformational period.
Sir Keir said: “The transition to low carbon technology is an opportunity to be seized; for business, the creation of jobs, the ambitions of our young people, and to achieve energy security to keep bills down. It’s been invaluable to see Vaillant’s work developing heat pumps and advances in hydrogen.
“To truly grasp the potential benefits, we need innovative businesses like Vaillant, backed by a clear government mission and working in partnership. We’re at a critical juncture for the clean energy sector, which if harnessed as the opportunity it is, will bring enormous reward to the whole country. It’s been invaluable to see work underway and meet people involved in making this change possible.”
Henrik Hansen, Managing Director at Vaillant, UK and Ireland, added: “We are always willing to demonstrate what we as a company are doing to ensure UK homes can benefit from effective, low carbon heating. This transition is exciting, but it will require long-term thinking, planning and support from government to ensure it is a success. Solid investment in skills, policy and infrastructure must be built into this. There is no silver bullet to the decarbonisation of heat and in the future there will be several technologies available, which can be reviewed for best fit and then designed to work effectively in each individual property. As the first boiler manufacturer in the UK to produce both boilers and heat pumps, we welcomed the opportunity to present the progress being made and to discuss the commitment required to make low carbon heating a reality.”