IF we are to successfully move to a greener future, the people have to be fully behind whatever steps their governors were taking, and it is clear that in Redcar the hydrogen heating trial did not have overwhelming support of the people whose homes were going to be affected.

The Government has made the right decision not to bludgeon on with the trial, although that decision seems to have been assisted by the fact that there is not enough “green hydrogen” (ie: hydrogen produced by environmentally sustainable methods) to conduct the trial.

The Government is also right not to have discounted hydrogen as a potential fuel for future home heating, even though there are widely diverging scientific opinions about its suitability.

In fact, hydrogen almost seems too good to be true: it is the most abundant element in the universe and it could be piped into our homes using the gas network and even burned in our existing boilers. However, it takes vast amounts of energy – usually from fossil fuels – to produce, and there are questions about its safety in our existing pipes, which concerned people in Redcar understandably.

But the fact remains that 85 per cent of UK heating and cooking is from natural gas, a fossil fuel, and that has to change.

Hydrogen may become an alternative in the future as technologies improve, but at the moment heat pumps seem to be the best option and there are many drawbacks with them, notably the expense.

We really need government to be more dynamic here, forcing through the planning system all new homes (and Amazon warehouses) to have roofs of solar panels and little turbines on the side so each can generate some of its own energy. However, we’ve yet to see that real drive from the Government to take the people with them – after all, what is going to be our strategy for electric cars in the North East’s streets of terraces. Is the Government going to allow everyone to have cables over the pavements, or has it got a better idea?