Fuel for today, fuel for the future – a fair transition to net zero for rural communities

Decarbonising rural homes and businesses is a unique challenge, but current government plans for an electric-first heating approach do not look widely enough at transitional or mixed technology approaches - a move that risks penalising rural communities, says Liquid Gas UK

Earlier this year, the government set out proposals to phase out the installation of traditional fuels for off-grid properties, in favour of an electrified approach by 2026.

Under plans set out by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), rural homeowners and businesses will have no choice but to install a heat pump when their current heating system needs replacing.   

While electrified heat pumps may work for certain properties, for many older rural buildings they can be an unsuitable and expensive heating source. What’s more, the 2026 deadline is nine years earlier than for mains-gas connected properties.

In our response to the government, Liquid Gas UK reported that 2 million rural homeowners will face costs between £8,000-£18,000 to install an air-source heat pump. Where insulation upgrades and retrofitting are needed, this figure could rocket to £32,000.

With fuel poverty and increasing living costs hitting rural communities, this is an unmanageable expense - 95% of homeowners told Liquid Gas UK it is an additional cost they cannot afford.

Besides the financial implications, the plans risk alienating off-grid populations, who say they feel unfairly treated compared to those in urban settings connected to mains-gas.

Forcing rural homeowners to adopt an expensive, one-size fits all approach during the cost-of-living crisis is not only impractical, it overlooks an opportunity to use a credible, renewable fuel that is readily available to accelerate the move to a low-carbon future.

Renewable liquid gases, such as bioLPG are available to homeowners today, include a range of uses as a ‘drop in’ fuel, and incurs low installation costs.

We must adopt a practical, mixed technology solution that embraces renewable liquid gases as a fuel fit for today and for the future, allowing off-grid homeowners to choose how they heat their properties.

Liquid Gas UK has committed to being 100% renewable by 2040. Our focus on bioLPG and rDME - gases sourced from renewable or recycled feedstocks - mean they provide a clear solution for decarbonising rural energy and strengthening the UK’s energy resilience. These renewable gases can be dropped into customer’s existing boilers, saving thousands of pounds.

We believe an open-minded approach to technology, allowing bioLPG to work in tandem with hybrid heat pumps and renewable energy sources, is the only way to a fair and just rural transition.

To find out how we’re supporting efforts to decarbonise rural homes and businesses, visit our website.

Ultimately, giving a voice to rural populations will empower them to tackle climate change together and set the agenda for net zero.


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