The government must not forget rural homes in the long-awaited Heat in Buildings strategy, warns OFTEC, the trade and marketing body for the liquid fuel heating and cooking industry.
Approximately one million households in Britain use oil for heating and despite the government’s ambitious plans to decarbonise all homes by 2030, little has been said about the approach to reducing emissions from off-grid properties.
In order to decarbonise homes across the country, the government has focused on the use of heat pumps and biomass boilers, and although these solutions work well in some settings, OFTEC has highlighted that they are expensive to install and are not the right option for all properties, including many energy-inefficient off-grid homes without very costly and disruptive insulation improvements.
OFTEC has said that the government must recognise the unique challenge of decarbonising rural homes and that any future consultation must fully explore the best ways to achieve this.
Head of public affairs at OFTEC, Malcolm Farrow, said: ‘What we don’t want to see – and what rural consumers can’t afford to happen – is that the Buildings and Heat consultation, through its line of questioning, makes it impossible to bring the full range of low carbon heating options into the discussion.
‘If the Government is serious about making rapid – and socially fair – progress, it must widen its perspective and adopt a truly technology-neutral approach. This is the only way to encourage competition, improve consumer choice and ensure practical options are available for all housing types and incomes.
‘Failing to achieve this could be disastrous for rural households as many will face a completely unaffordable financial burden. As well as causing great social harm, it could also rapidly erode support for decarbonisation and will further delay progress.’
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