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Oil heated households in West Sussex could face major costs for green heat under government plans

Rural homeowners living in West Sussex, could face huge costs to install green heating systems if government plans go ahead, warns an industry trade association.

As part of the UK’s strategy to tackle climate change, consumers will be encouraged to replace fossil fuel heating systems with electric heat pumps at an average cost of over £10,000¹ to install.

The West Sussex oil heated households in West Sussex, will be amongst those targeted first.

Government is already consulting on proposals to offer £4,000 ‘Clean Heat Grants’ to help supplement the cost of heat pumps, and in limited cases, biomass heating systems.

However, this still leaves a £6,000 shortfall for installation alone which many consumers will not be able to afford, especially during a post pandemic recession.

OFTEC, which represents the liquid fuel heating industry, has written to all rural MPs to highlight the issue and is urging oil heated households across West Sussex to raise the issue with their own local MP.

Resources to do this are available at OFTEC’s website www.oftec.org/future-heating

Malcolm Farrow of OFTEC explains: “We know that rural households are already more likely to be in fuel poverty and face the largest fuel poverty gap². Many also fall into the low to middle income bracket with little or no savings³.

“These financially stretched homeowners are struggling to pay their existing bills, so there is no way they will be able to fund expensive green heating systems such as heat pumps, particularly post Covid-19.

“Government should be backing more cost-effective options such as renewable liquid fuels which can provide a simple, drop in replacement for heating oil. Failing to do so will mean that rural households in particular continue to suffer and progress on climate change will continue to stall.”

¹BEIS Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive monthly deployment data January 2020

²BEIS Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report April 2020

³Savings and investments (nominal) of adults in low to middle income households (UK). Resolution Foundation 2020.

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