UKLPG response to Committee on Climate Change report: ‘UK housing: fit for the future?’

Friday 1st March 2019

UKLPG is concerned that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has taken a step too far in attempting to mandate the type of technology UK home owners should be allowed to use in future new homes.

While the CCC is at liberty, and completely right, to raise questions about the perceived lack of progress on decarbonising heat, some of the recommendations fall dramatically short of understanding the variety of low carbon solutions.

Despite the push for heat pumps to be the sole answer to the decarbonisation of heat, it is it is widely accepted that between 40% and 70% of existing properties off-grid will not be suitable for a standalone heat pump and therefore other low carbon fuels will need to be included in the future energy plan.

LPG is the lowest carbon conventional energy source currently available to the 2 million off-grid rural homes, and provides immediate, expedient and cost-effective heat and energy. The industry has already demonstrated how LPG fuelled systems can be rolled out effectively to displace high carbon fossil fuels, delivering significant carbon savings.

Further to this, bioLPG is now available on the market, which delivers a long term, low carbon solution for off-grid heat. Available today, bioLPG is derived from production processes that use a variety of biological materials as feedstocks, including waste streams. It is chemically indistinct from LPG and can be ‘dropped-in’ to existing supply chains and appliances, making it an attractive and convenient choice for the consumer.

The LPG industry is clear that the future is bio and it is for this reason UKLPG is concerned that the CCC is moving into policy areas beyond its remit and is choosing to dismiss all other low carbon technologies without considering the feasibility and consumer demand.

A great deal of uncertainty remains around heat pumps, plus home owners and house builders still prefer high efficiency, condensing gas boilers, which can be fuelled by low carbon biogases. In addition, the practicalities and costs of installing heat pump technology on a large scale is a considerable barrier, whereas bioLPG offers the ability to decarbonise heat in a manner that is much cheaper for the consumer and using technology which is much more consistent with the nature of rural housing stock. 

UKLPG fears that the CCC is straying into policy areas way beyond its reach and questions their technology pathway which would result in rising costs for new buildings. As there is already a huge issue in the UK with affordable housing, UK Government should scrutinize their recommendations carefully, especially as the CCC hasn’t taken into account the costs of insulating properties or reinforcing the rural electricity grid.

UKLPG enthusiastically supports the decarbonisation agenda and is working hard with industry to ensure that bioLPG is the renewable fuel of choice for off-grid homes and businesses across the UK. There is no silver bullet for off-grid heating, a mix of technologies will be needed to cater for consumer’s different needs and different types of property. The sooner that the CCC realise the huge role biofuels can play in the decarbonisation agenda, the better.

For more information, please contact Sophia Haywood, Public Affairs Manager at UKLPG on sophia.haywood@uklpg.org

The trade association for the LPG industry in the UK