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Call to include choice in net-zero heating

Liquid fuels trade association the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) has urged the Government not to forget the four million off-grid homes when setting energy policy following the announcement of the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Green Plan.

Guy Pulham, UKIFDA chief executive

UKIFDA has written to Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, to voice its concerns.

Guy Pulham, UKIFDA chief executive, said: “The announcement and focus on heat pumps doesn’t take into account the high cost to install heat pumps in the majority of UK homes who have EPC ratings of D or below – £10,000 or more dependent on the age and type of house – and that is without the cost of the heat pump itself.

“Heat Pumps may be ideal for new homes but for many of our members customers’ homes which are rural homes they are not suitable. These homes generally are built pre 1919 and have poor insulation, making them very difficult to make changes to, particularly for insulation. They may also require further upgrades to the electricity supply to the property as the supply simply isn’t consistent enough to run a heat pump comfortably especially as other demands are made on electricity supplies such as vehicle charging.

“We strongly urge the Government to be technology neutral and to create a fair, inclusive, supportive and effective policy on eliminating carbon from home heating. The Government must include liquid biofuels on the list of decarbonisation solutions for home heating, for the 1.5m UK off-grid homes currently using heating oil. Hydrogen is recognised as a potential alternative to gas heating so liquid biofuels should be included in policy as an alternative to heating oil.

“Trials of greener liquid biofuels are currently being undertaken by UKIFDA and fellow trade association OFTEC and initial results show that those currently on heating oil won’t need to change their heating systems and can continue to enjoy the benefits of liquid fuels, whilst meeting the government’s net zero targets.

“With the economic impact of COVID-19 it is important that households finances are not strained further by having to spend large amounts on the fabric of the home in order to install heating solutions when there are more efficient, cost-effective solutions for these homeowners. Whilst our industry is carrying out trials we want people to register their interest so they can be first to know when greener liquid biofuels will be available to use in the home heating sector.

“All government need to do is to say that liquid biofuels will form part of the policy solutions. We even encourage them to set timelines for the transition. Once they do that, then industry will respond to the supply challenge and consumers will have choices in beginning their personal decarbonisation transition and this is the point we have strongly made to Andrew Griffith. To succeed, government policy must encourage innovation and investment and our industry is waiting to start meeting the needs of the UK’s net zero challenge - so why delay us further?”

19 November 2020

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