Liquid Fuel Trade Association Response To Committee on Climate Change Sixth Carbon Budget – The Path to Net Zero

9th December 2020

Liquid fuels trade association, The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) welcomes the Sixth Carbon Budget published today from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). UKIFDA has been lobbying for targets and timelines and is pleased that the CCC agrees. However, liquid biofuels are still not included in the list of possible decarbonisation solutions thereby potentially limiting options and increasing costs for 1.5m households in the UK.

Many of the CCC recommendations and timelines would allow our members to play a part in achieving the net-zero aims but it is important that government recognises the role liquid biofuels can play in decarbonising both heat and transport and whilst we were pleased to see that bio-kerosene is mentioned by the CCC we wanted to see that talked more about in the wider sense of being an option for heat policy as well as transport.

We absolutely agree that government support on energy efficiency measures is required – both on and off-gas grid – that encourage consumers to upgrade existing equipment, improve insulation and install smart controls to better monitor energy usage. We believe that these measures are vital in moving homes upwards through the EPC ratings and thereby reducing emissions although care needs to be taken that the disadvantaged, such as the fuel poor, are not excluded.

It is important that consumers have choice and we again urge the government to include liquid biofuels in policy for off the gas grid homes. Hydrogen is an option as an alternative to gas heating as well as heat pumps and rural consumers should be given choice over the solutions, they use to decarbonise their home heating otherwise they will unfairly face enormous expense.

65% of oil heated properties (765,000 homes) are in EPC Bands E-G and among the least energy efficient homes in the UK and will take more than the proposed £10,000 per property average upgrade cost to bring a property up to EPC C.  At a time when COVID-19 is having devasting effects on people’s jobs and finances we should, as a country, be looking to ensure we don’t place additional financial burdens on households and government must focus on putting in place a policy framework that will create a competitive market and drive down prices, enabling consumers to select low carbon products that best suit their needs and budgets.

The CCC suggest hybrid heating systems as an appropriate solution for off-grid properties.  We believe this is important consideration for some homes and are pleased to see this included as using a hybrid unit combines the higher flow temperatures produced by a boiler, with the operation of a heat pump, to meet the buildings heat demand throughout the year. But why replace boiler equipment when a drop in, liquid biofuel will be available that has a lifecycle carbon emission factor as good as biomass (the government’s preferred non electric solution).

Our industry is undertaking trials of liquid biofuels across the UK (similar to the gas industry undertaking hydrogen trials) and we believe that liquid biofuels can and should play a part in the Committee’s list of core solutions for buildings as well as transport.

What we need now is a supportive and timely response from the UK Government to these proposed timelines from the CCC, so businesses and the public can get on with reaching it. Government should set the right legal and policy framework to enable industry to invest and innovate and say that liquid biofuels will form part of the policy solutions. Once they do that, then industry will respond to the supply challenge and consumers will have choices in beginning their personal decarbonisation transition and this is the point we strongly want to make to you and government. To succeed, government policy must encourage innovation and investment and our industry is waiting to start meeting the needs of the UK’s Net Zero challenge – so why delay us further?

We remain committed to the ambitions of the CCC and would welcome direct conversation with the Committee on some of the points raised and to discuss how we, and our Members, can support the energy transition.

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