9 in 10 rural homes say government’s green heating plans are treating them unfairly

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A new survey has revealed 90% of homes living off the gas grid are concerned the government’s green heating proposals are treating them unfairly, with over 95% wanting a greater choice of low carbon heating solutions.


The findings come ahead of the expected publication of the government’s response to its Heat and Buildings Strategy consultation, which set out proposals to end the installation of fossil fuel heating systems in off-gas grid homes from 2026 and businesses from 2024.


The survey of 1,500 UK homes on oil heating, conducted by the Future Ready Fuel campaign on behalf of trade associations OFTEC and UKIFDA, also found over 96% of rural homes want to decide which green heating system they install, rather than the government


In the midst of the cost of living crisis, 88% also said the government’s current low carbon heating solution are too expensive for them.


In response to the findings, CEO of trade association UKIFDA Ken Cronin said: “It’s clear rural homes and businesses want to play their part in going green and we fully support this ambition. However, with the cost of living crisis putting huge pressure on household finances, the government needs to provide more realistic and affordable options.


“Two major themes from this survey are fairness and choice and it’s important rural communities have solutions which are affordable with minimal disruptions. Transitioning to low carbon heating must not be made at the expense of poor outcomes for consumers.”


As part of its Heat and Buildings strategy, the government wants homes and businesses not connected to the gas grid to transition to heat pumps. However, the survey found that whilst 95% are keen to go green and reduce their carbon emissions, support for heat pumps was less than 8%.


In contrast, over 88% of respondents on oil heating said they want the option of keeping their boiler but switching to a renewable liquid fuel such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which reduces emissions by nearly 90% following a simple low cost conversion.


Paul Rose, CEO of trade association OFTEC, added: “Heat pumps have an important role to play and OFTEC registered technicians are already out in the field helping to install the technology. However, not every property is suitable. This is often the case for those on oil heating, which tend to be older buildings with poor insulation and low energy efficiency.


“That’s why it’s important they have an alternative solution such as HVO. It’s quick and easy to make the switch and we’ve already converted nearly 150 oil properties to the fuel as part of a demonstration project. With government support, we would be able to rollout HVO more widely and deliver a realistic green solution for harder to treat properties.”


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