Former environment secretary George Eustice has compared the proposed bans on new oil boilers to the Ulez car ban in London.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Tory MP said there are 1.7m rural homes that will be affected by the new oil boiler ban, referencing plans to ban new boilers and introduce “air-source heat-pumps” from 2026.
Eustice argued this costs four times more than a new boiler and said his solution is to expand the supply of renewable liquid fuels.
“For just a couple of hundred pounds, an existing kerosene boiler can be converted to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil made from waste cooking oil or vegetable waste. Facilitating that switch would reduce carbon emissions by 88 per cent far faster than the current approach could and at a fraction of the cost,” he said.
Eustice believed the Government needs to create different approaches to develop the delivery of net zero, rather than “lock” into technologies now.
“To pick winners today is to shut down all the other innovation taking place and the Prime Minister is right to push back. Rural communities are about to have their own version of London’s ultra-low emission zone dumped on them,” he said.
The Daily Telegraph reported that more than a dozen Tory MPs support Mr Eustice’s amendment to the energy Bill and more than 30 MPs have written to Rishi Sunak to raise the issue.
In late July, comments from Downing Street said the Government was committed to policies such as phasing out gas boilers and ending the sale of petrol-powered cars.
Environment Minister Therese Coffey said on Sunday that abandoning green policies could cost the Conservatives the next general election.
Coffey said the party must show it cares about the environment in order to win, but cautioned it must not be in a way that “burdens” the public.
A spokesperson for the department for energy security and net zero said: “We have consulted on new regulations to phase out boilers in homes and non-domestic buildings off the gas grid from 2026. We will confirm our plans when we publish our response to the consultation in due course.
“We are fully focused on delivering on our aim of 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028 and have offered grants of £5,000 and £6,000 towards the cost.
Press Association – Cormac Pearson