Up to 23,000 Gloucestershire homes could be affected by new government energy proposals

Households in Gloucestershire which use oil heating could be forced to switch to heat pumps from 2026, if the government's new rural energy proposals get the go-ahead.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
New government energy proposals would mean Gloucestershire households using oil heating would have to switch to heat pumps from 2026.

A new survey on behalf of OFTEC - the trade association for liquid fuel heating - shows a new government energy policy for rural homes could impact thousands of households in Gloucestershire, if it gets the go-ahead. 

Up to 23,000 homes in Gloucestershire use oil heating and could be affected by the new proposed policy, which would prevent people from installing replacement boilers in oil-heated homes after 2026, instead making them switch to a heat pump. 

While green heating policies are vitally important in the fight against climate change, 65 per cent of voters surveyed said they were against the government's plans to limit the choice of renewable heating systems they could install, with 63 per cent of people with oil-heated homes wanting the option of switching to a renewable liquid fuel instead.

As part of the UK's plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the government's 2021 Heat and Buildings Strategy proposed preventing households using fossil fuel oil burners from installing new boilers from 2026, with most of these households expected to install a heat pump if their boiler needs replacing; while homes using mains gas for their heating can continue replacing their systems until 2035. 

While Air Source Heat Pumps cost around £12,900, the types of homes typically using oil heating are older and often require significant modifications and energy efficiency upgrades for heat pumps to be effective, with the total cost for these kinds of properties exceeding £20,000, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Heat Pump Checker published in August 2022. 

There are alternative, fossil-free fuel solutions for oil-heated homes, such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which OFTEC has shown reduces fuel emissions by up to 88 per cent following a conversion costing around £500 - with a recent report from Portland Analytics on behalf of UKIFDA showing that there is more than enough supply of HVO to meet the demands of the heating, aviation and transport sectors. 

Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC said: 'From this research, we can clearly see rural voters on oil heating aren’t happy with the government’s rural energy proposals, and they’re planning to make their voices heard at the next election.

'Whilst we fully support the need to transition oil homes to greener heating, in the current cost of living crisis, we need solutions which are affordable and realistic for everybody. Heat pumps are an ideal choice for some homes, but we must recognise for many oil homes the costs are simply unaffordable. 

'Rural homes need to be given a choice so they can adopt the right heating for their property. For the 23,000 oil heated homes in Gloucestershire, the renewable liquid fuel HVO is an ideal alternative with a quick and simple conversion cost of around £500. Our successful demonstration project has proved it works and our industry is ready to deliver a wider rollout if the government can provide the necessary policy support.'

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