OFTEC and FPS, supported by rural communities’ charity ACRE, have written to more than 500 prospective parliamentary candidates urging them to support proposals for a radical shake-up to home heating policies for the UK.
The letter, sent to election candidates representing the majority of rural constituencies in the UK, calls for a greater and more pragmatic approach to reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions.
Recommendations put forward include stronger emphasis on upgrading insulation in rural homes which have far poorer EPC ratings than urban properties; incentivising the installation of high efficiency condensing boilers by re-introducing boiler scrappage schemes for oil boilers as well as mains gas boilers; revising the domestic RHI to better incentivise hybrid heating systems and include bio-fuels such as B30K; and to extend Government funding to support low income off-grid households.
Speaking about the letter, which has received significant positive support from many of its recipients, OFTEC’s Director General, Jeremy Hawksley, said: “There’s a great opportunity for the new government, whichever political colour it may be, to introduce much more realistic and all-inclusive domestic energy policies that address fuel poverty and carbon emission reduction simultaneously, rather than as separate goals.”
Janice Banks, Chief Executive of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) which is the national body representing 38 rural community councils, added: “With a high percentage of inefficient, solid-wall housing and many homes without a connection to the mains gas grid, rural households can face unique fuel poverty challenges. However, the current delivery of Government-backed measures is failing households that live in difficult-to-treat houses and those that have to rely on heating oil or LPG for their energy.”
The organisations behind the letter plan to push their message further once the new Government is formed, with the aim of improving conditions for the off-grid heating sector.