UKIFDA ‘not surprised’ by findings of public research

UKIFDA welcomes the findings from a survey of the GB public on the transition to a low-carbon heating future in a report from NatCen Social Research for BEIS.

Guy Pulham

UKIFDA CEO Guy Pulham, comments; “The report doesn’t throw up many surprises to us and reiterates what we have been telling government for some time – there is enthusiasm from the respondents in the survey for less disruption, national legislation is needed to facilitate change rather than rely on local authorities, households want to control the timing of their change too and off grid households believed the high upfront costs of low carbon heating such as heat pumps could be a barrier to transitioning.
“We have been lobbying government to develop a pathway that enables the 1.1m off grid GB households who use heating oil to cut their carbon emissions through a series of planned steps rather than one major heating system change – ‘Creating your Decarbonisation Plan’ is one of the most popular blogs on our website. The continued focus on electrification of heat using heat pumps for those using heating oil does not consider the high price consumers would have to pay to change existing appliances and this research suggests the public also agrees with this.
“The heating oil industry across the UK is working to show government that liquid biofuels can and should play a role in the future. Recent studies undertaken by trade association OFTEC and their consultants In Perpetuum (2019) suggest that liquid biofuels offer the most efficient and cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions in off-gas grid homes due to the type and fabric of the houses. These studies suggest that retrofitting homes, so that they can efficiently operate on newer technologies such as heat pumps, could cost up to £11,000 (dependant on type of house) if only reasonable improvements are required (which matches your figures) but the cost can be over £11,000 (and up to circa £50,000 in larger homes) for deeper retrofits. The cost of a new condensing boiler (if required) and biofuel tank will range from £1,500 to £7,000 dependant on house size.
“Liquid biofuels would allow heating oil households switch to a more environmentally friendly fuel with lower carbon emissions. Importantly though, there will be minimum disruption to households as they can continue to use a liquid fuel form of heating without making large scale changes to your home. All things respondents in this survey wanted. Importantly, these drop in liquid biofuels already exist and supply will increase if government announce that such fuels will play a part in the future and legislation on suitable implementation timeframes would also create immediate innovation and investment on these future fuels.
“The survey also shows the value of working with organisations like UKIFDA who are key in communicating messages to consumers. Our members have direct communication with end users and should be utilised to implement an effective transition to biofuels that fits the timing needs of the government but that is specific to each household in terms of the equipment in and fabric of their home and their finances.”