You can’t force people to give up cooking on gas, MPs tell Utrecht council


MPs have voted by a narrow majority of 76 to 74 to stop local councils to force people to cook on electric rather than gas stoves.

Utrecht city council is trying to turn the Overvecht-Noord neighbourhood into a gas-free zone by 2030, and part of that includes disconnecting the gas network.

But some people are refusing to give up cooking on gas, and MPs have now voted in favour of a motion removing the right of councils to force them to take this step, the AD reports. The motion was drawn up by the ruling VVD and 50Plus.

The decision means the city will have to press ahead with renewing old pipes at a cost of €1.5bn, local broadcaster RTV Utrecht said.

City alderman Lot van Hooijdonk told the paper she was very sorry MPs have removed the option but said the shift to gas-free living would continue. ‘Every switch to cooking on electric stoves is one less gas connection,’ she said.

The city, housing corporations and national grid company Stedin will now draw up an offer to try and tempt home owners to make the switch so the district can still become gas free, she said.

Research by environmental lobby group Natuur en Milieu last year showed the sale of gas cookers is plunging. In 2018, gas hobs accounted for just 27% of the new cookers sold to Dutch consumers, compared with 42% in 2017.

The Dutch government plans to completely phase out the use of gas in private homes by 2050 and in 2018 dropped the requirement that all new homes be connected to the gas grid. Local authorities have until 2021 to draw up plans to disconnect homes from the gas grid on a district by district basis.

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