The Spectator

Is it getting cheaper to install a heat pump?


Popularity polling

Vladimir Putin won the Russian presidential election with 87.3% of the vote. But he doesn’t appear to be quite the world’s most popular leader. Some others who have won commanding election victories:

– Robert Mugabe won 61.9% of the vote in the 2013 Zimbabwean election.

– Alexander Lukashenko won 81% in Belarus’s 2020 presidential election.

– Ilham Aliyev won 94% of the vote in last month’s election in Azerbaijan.

– Bashar al-Assad won 95% of the vote in Syria in 2021.

– Kim Jong-Un was elected with 100% of the vote on a 100% turnout in the Mount Paektu District in the North Korean elections in 2014. Across the country the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland won 100% of the vote on a turnout of 99.9%.

Hotting up

Are the installation costs of heat pumps falling? Average cost adjusted for inflation.

2019 £10,328

2020 £11,592

2021 £12,041

2022 £13,396

2023 £11,287

Source: National Audit Office

Road runners

The M25 was closed either side of junction 10 with the A3 for an entire weekend to allow reconstruction works – the first such closure during daytime in the motorway’s 40-year history. How much traffic do our motorways carry? Average number of vehicles per day in 2022 at the most and least busy junctions.


M25 J14-15 204,000

M25 J15-16 201,000

M25 J13-14 200,000

M60 J12-13 191,000

M25 J12-13 191,000


M48 J1-2 14,000

M50 J2-3 24,000

M90 J8-9 26,000

M49 J1-2 26,000

M58 J1-3 27,000

Source: Department for Transport

Brain waves

Which towns have the highest, and lowest, percentages of their populations made up of graduates?


Duffield (Derbyshire) 72.1%

Harpenden (Herts) 69.0%

Gerrards Cross (Bucks) 66.1%

Beaconsfield (Bucks) 63.2%

Ilkley (W Yorks) 62.6%


Ferryhill (Durham) 12.6%

New Ollerton (Notts) 12.8%

Partington (Greater Manchester) 14.1%

Shirebrook (Derbyshire) 14.5%

Conisburgh (South Yorkshire) 14.5%

Source: ONS (2021 Census)