OFTEC (the Oil Firing Technical Association) has written to 232 MPs representing rural constituencies across England and Wales following the recent announcement about the Government's new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.
It says that the fund effectively excludes properties using oil from taking advantage of the scheme to upgrade their boiler, although homes on mains gas can benefit.
The scheme aims to encourage homeowners to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by offering a grant of up to £1,500 to install a new condensing boiler alongside one other Green Deal insulation measure. However, as only gas-fired boilers are covered by the scheme, this will exclude an estimated 850,000 homes in rural England and Wales that use oil.
Director general of OFTEC, Jeremy Hawksley, said: 'The design of this scheme clearly discriminates against rural households which are off mains gas and, in particular, prevents those living in fuel poverty in rural areas from accessing Government funds which are available to householders on the gas network.
'We've been informed that Ministers were advised that the recently launched domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) must be the only option for rural homes on oil, although gas homes can choose either the RHI or a simpler boiler up-grade.'
OFTEC also has actively voiced its concerns about the domestic RHI scheme since its inception, arguing that the considerable upfront investment required by homeowners to install renewable technologies makes the scheme fit for only the wealthy few. Typical installation costs of renewable heating are between £8,000 and £19,000 and often will include the need for replacement radiators and / or underfloor heating.
Mr Hawksley continued: 'The Government is failing to introduce energy efficiency measures for the fuel-poor households using oil. Typically these are more at risk of fuel poverty because their homes tend to be older, poorly insulated and therefore cost more to heat.
'Additionally, a higher proportion of older people live in rural communities than in cities, and so this new policy is not addressing the urgent need to reduce fuel poverty within this vulnerable group. It is quite wrong for the Government to expect everyone on oil to be able to access the RHI and thus exclude them from this Green Deal subsidy.'