Farmers to be penalised in Government green heat plans

A blanket approach by the Government to decarbonise rural heating in favour of electric heat technologies will unfairly penalise farm businesses.

According to trade association Liquid Gas UK, the Government should be offering a range of options to rural businesses, including liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and bioLPG, rather than forcing them to install expensive electric technology. By 2026 more than 100,000 off-grid businesses and two million homes in England could see fossil fuel heating systems phased out as part of the Government’s heat and building strategy plans, nine years earlier than those on England’s main gas grid. It will see those who rely on traditional fuels such as heating oil or LPG for space and water heating ‘forced’ to install electric technology with ‘expensive’ up-front installation costs, such as heat pumps, if their current system breaks down.

Sophia Haywood, director of public affairs at Liquid Gas UK, said: "The agricultural community relies heavily on traditional fuels for heating and hot water. "Their energy needs were vast. "It is essential that rural people are given a range of low-carbon heat options, which includes LPG." She added it could be the lowest carbon and most efficient transitional fuel for many rural businesses. In rural strongholds in the South West and North West of England, 40 to 60 per cent of properties are unable to access mains energy, and the up-front cost of installing a heat pump can exceed £18,000, or £32,000 if building insulation or efficiency upgrades are needed, for a typical rural cottage. "Not only will farming businesses be affected, but the majority of those working in agriculture also live in rural areas, so there is the added concern on what this means for heating their homes," she said. "Rural people deserve to be treated fairly and have a choice over how to heat and power their businesses."

Source: FG Insight