The oil heating industry is urging government to reject EU proposals for a reduction in permitted levels of NOx emitted by central heating boilers from 250mg/kWh to as low as 35mg/kWh, fearing this would sound the deathknell for the sector.
To achieve the emission cuts proposed by the European Commission's Energy Using Products Directive (EuPD), due to pass into UK law in 2010, UK consumers will be required to fit larger burner units, of a type common in mainland Europe but unusual in the UK.
A new petition has been posted on Number 10 Downing Street's website urging a rejection of this proposal in favour of a more realistic amendment. OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association) is proposing to cut permitted levels of NOx (nitrous oxide) to 120mg/kWh by 2015. This recommendation received support from Defra and Eurofuel at the EuP consultation forum which took place on June 24 and 25.
The oil heating industry argues that while the existing EU proposal may suit mainland Europeans, they discriminate against 1.5 million UK consumers, many of whom are used to having boilers fitted in small spaces cupboards and kitchens and do not have the space to install a larger burner unit which would enable much lower NOx emissions to be produced.
The implementation date at which time Europe's boilers must produce a lower level of NOx emissions is 2013. The industry says, if the EU proposal is enacted unchanged, British householders with oil heating systems could be forced change their equipment and may switch to more expensive and less efficient fuels.
OFTEC are united with the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and individual oil equipment manufacturers in lobbying the government to amend the EuPD before it becomes law.
The campaigners also say the proposals could threaten up to 20,000 British jobs - many in manufacturing industries.
Jonathan Switzer marketing manager from Harlequin Oil Tanks added the petition to the Prime Minister's Downing Street Petition's website.
'With a general election due within the next 12 months, hopefully this petition will serve to further concentrate government minds. After all, there are up to four million votes at stake in rural areas - and many of those voters have chosen the benefits that oil heating affords,' said Switzer.
To sign the petition click here