Future Ready Fuel campaign
The threat posed by the climate crisis means we must take action to reduce our carbon emissions. The way we heat our homes must change for crucial climate change targets to be met. The government has set a target for the UK to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and, at the end of 2021, consulted on the proposals in its Heat and Buildings Strategy, which impact significantly on homes and businesses off the gas grid.
You can read the Heat and Building Strategy here.
You can read the joint OFTEC / UKIFDA response here.
We think the proposals published by the government are extremely unfair to households and businesses off the gas grid. They will:
- Force them to adopt low carbon heating at least nine years earlier than those connected to mains gas.
- Force them, in most cases, to install an electric heat pump system if they need to replace their existing fossil fuel boiler and, as a result
- Subject them to the high cost, significant disruption, and uncertain outcomes.
OFTEC is campaigning for a transition to low carbon heating that is fair, affordable, and practical. This is essential if the plans are to be supported by the public because, without widespread support, the demanding targets set by the government will not be achieved.
To successfully decarbonise the heating of buildings off the gas grid, solutions must be as frictionless as possible. We think this is best achieved by the adoption of a technology-inclusive policy approach that actively supports all viable solutions. That certainly includes heat pumps, but it also requires a strong focus on energy efficiency, renewable liquid fuels and supporting technologies such as solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV).
This has led OFTEC to join forces with colleagues across the heating industry on a project to introduce a renewable liquid fuel as an alternative to heating oil. The fuel, called hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), can be used as a drop-in replacement for heating oil and offers a near 90% reduction in carbon emissions. The big advantage of this fuel is that it works well in existing oil heating systems once some simple modifications are made.
Alongside showcasing this practical work, we are also raising awareness of the government’s heat policy plans, so that as many rural households and businesses as possible understand the full implications and why they are unfair.
We have set up a new campaign website and we would greatly welcome your support.
(updated August 2022)
Affordable green heating campaign
Campaign to prevent leaks from oil tanks
Preventing oil tank leaks that can lead to pollution is an important priority for OFTEC. It is particularly important to ensure this does not happen in areas where there is a risk to water supplies, or other sensitive sites, becoming contaminated.
OFTEC has collaborated on a trial campaign across Hampshire and West Sussex with partners the Environment Agency (EA) and Portsmouth Water, aimed at addressing this problem.
The campaign has been working with OFTEC registered technicians to encourage householders to check and replace failing tanks. The trial compared two approaches for engaging customers in ‘source protection zones’ situated over valuable naturally occurring groundwater abstracted for drinking water. It split 500 households into two equal groups. One received a yearly mailshot with a cover letter and leaflet, while the other group received the same leaflet, plus face-to-face advice from an OFTEC registered technician as part of their annual boiler service. Articles were also run in the parish magazines of both groups.
Both tactics urged householders to contact Portsmouth Water for a free inspection and/or 50% off a replacement tank should the inspection recommend it. As an incentive, Portsmouth Water subsidise a free inspection and 50% grant towards replacement works in priority locations.
Face to face contact from technicians was the most successful intervention. In all, an impressive 25 tanks were replaced, greatly reducing the risk of water supply contamination, or pollution the local water environment.
The trial element of the campaign has now ended, but many of the most successful tactics are now being taken up longer term by Portsmouth Water. The learning from the campaign is being shared nationally and it is hoped that other water companies will adopt similar schemes. You can find out more at www.portsmouthwater.co.uk/about-us/water-quality/heating-oil/