Statement in response to the government’s net zero announcements
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out the government’s new approach to net zero in a press conference last week. Among the announcements he included:
- Existing plans to ban the installation of oil and LPG boilers, and new coal heating, in off-grid homes will be delayed from 2026 to 2035
- There will be an exemption to the phasing out of fossil fuel boilers, including gas, in 2035 to ensure households who will most struggle to make the switch to heat pumps, or other low-carbon alternatives, won’t have to do so. This is expected to cover about a fifth of homes, including those off the gas grid
- An increase in the Boiler Upgrade Grant in England and Wales by 50% from £5,000 to £7,500 to help households with the installation costs of both air source and ground source heat pumps
- The UK’s target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 remains in place.
DESNZ has since clarified that they will explore the potential low carbon heating options for off-gas grid properties that are not suitable for heat pumps by issuing a consultation, in line with commitments the Government has made during Parliamentary debates on the Energy Bill. Other Government policies on heating remain the same.
In response, Paul Rose, CEO of OFTEC, issued the following statement:
“Our view has been very clear. The transition to net zero must be fair and affordable to have public support. The reality is the 2026 deadline unfairly targeted off-grid households who, as early forced adopters of heat pumps, would have faced some of the highest costs and disruption to transition. Consequently, we welcome this change of direction from the government and the recognition that consumer choice and fairness must be front and centre in this debate if we want to make genuine progress.
“However, it’s vital we do not lose momentum on our net zero ambitions, and our commitment to decarbonise off-grid properties remains steadfast. Urgent action must still be taken and the government should now quickly move to support all viable low carbon technologies, alongside electrification, to drive the change we need.
“This includes incentivising a renewable liquid fuel option for the UK’s 1.7 million oil heated homes. It should be possible for almost any home currently heated by oil to be converted, providing a pragmatic and affordable low carbon alternative, even where other low carbon options are considered too difficult. We urge the government to bring forward its consultation on renewable liquid fuels quickly and support a fuel obligation to deploy this low carbon solution more widely.”