Rural households can’t afford net-zero plans, says LGUK

George Webb
George Webb

More than a quarter, 28%, of rural households living off the gas grid have said that they would not be able to afford a new heating system at any price if forced to install one to meet net-zero emissions targets, in new research by Liquid Gas UK (LGUK).

The research found that a further third said that they can’t afford to pay more than £4,000 to help pay for a new low carbon heating system in the form of a heat pump, with only 12% saying that they would be prepared to pay more than £6,000.

The government’s latest ambition is to cut CO2 emissions by 78% of 1990 levels by 2035. A fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions come from heating buildings making tackling heating essential to any decarbonisation strategy.

There are over 1.5 million rural off-grid homes across the UK, many of which are old historic buildings that are hard to heat due to the lack of installation, a statement said.

George Webb, CEO of Liquid Gas UK, said: “It is clear that if the government is serious about meeting its ambition to cut 78% of CO2 emissions by 2035, it must drop it’s one size fits all approach to decarbonising heating and begin to take seriously the views of rural homeowners and adopt policies that reflects the specific nature of homes in rural areas.

“Many off-grid homeowners simply can’t afford a heat pump and even if they could, electrification alone will not be the answer to every home. Many off-grid properties are old and would require heavily, and expensively, insulating homes in order for a heat pump to be effective and deliver the level of heating required.

“Indeed, the only clear route to decarbonisation is a mixed approach and while heat pumps will have an important role to play, so too will LPG and bioLPG which heat homes to a consistently warm level, irrespective of building fabric type. LPG emits 33% less carbon emissions than coal and up to 20% less than oil, while bioLPG emits up to 90% less carbon emissions than LPG.

“Made from a diverse mix of biological and waste feedstocks, bioLPG is a drop in fuel, meaning there is no upfront cost from switching over from LPG to bioLPG for existing users.”