UKIFDA Urges Chancellor To Consider The Rural Poor And Biofuels Investment In The Upcoming Budget

28th February 2020

The trade association for the liquid fuels distribution industry in the UK and the Republic of Ireland UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, urging him to remember the rural fuel poor and to support investment in biofuels in the upcoming 2020 budget.

“On behalf of UKIFDA and our members, I have written to the Chancellor, urging him to consider our industry and the 1.5m households across the UK who currently use oil to heat their homes in the upcoming budget,” says Guy Pulham, CEO of UKIFDA.

“Key considerations are to bring in policies that help the rural fuel poor whilst also enable the Government to meet its Clean Growth Strategy targets.

“Achieving net zero is vitally important and an ambition UKIFDA wholeheartedly supports – we believe that liquid fuel, and biofuel in particular, can be part of the solution which is why we’re also urging the Chancellor to bring in investment measures for the UK biofuels industry in the next budget.”

There are approximately 1million households in rural England and Wales, and almost 500,000 in Northern Ireland that are heated by oil, as well as 250,000 businesses. The challenge is finding an alternative low carbon fuel to replace heating oil and the industry is currently undertaking research and trials into long-term change to a 100% biofuel.

Guy comments: “When it comes to the rural fuel poor, homeowners suffer from disproportionately low support from schemes like the Energy Companies Obligation where most funding is delivered in urban areas and for gas boiler replacements. The fuel poor are also excluded from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) as they can’t afford the high upfront costs to install renewable technologies, many of which are not the right solution for every housing type.

“We want the Government to support the biofuels industry as this type of liquid fuel can help achieve net zero carbon targets and support the fuel poor in the process. Alternatives are needed to the large-scale electrification through the use of heat pumps – this is not the only answer, especially for vulnerable customers who could be adversely impacted if they install solutions which cut emissions but lead to higher energy bills.

“In fact, low carbon liquid fuels provide the greatest reduction in emissions for the lowest cost, based on calculations using SAP10 data.

“Our industry is undertaking research for changing from heating oil to biofuel but need the Government’s support – for technological investment today to ensure a payback for innovators and to facilitate a dialogue with the whole supply chain so that refiners, importers and assorted industries, including aviation, are included.

“Industry analysis shows that sustainable, low carbon liquid fuels could be produced in sufficient volume in the UK, and with the added benefit of creating investment and green job opportunities.”

UKIFDA together with OFTEC and the Tank Storage Association (TSA) recently launched a future vision for liquid fuels, ‘Supply Chain Strategy For Liquid Fuels’, that outlines the steps to be taken towards switching from heating oil to 100% biofuel.

Guy adds: “If our strategy for biofuels is to be successful, we need the Government’s support. We urge the Government to support energy efficiency measures in the immediate term, to cut energy demand and cost for households regardless of the technology used.

“We’re calling on the Government to support the supply chain preparations to accept a 30% biofuel/70% kerosene blend fuel by 2027 including an industry-led field trail, and to support the preparations to accept supply of a low carbon liquid fuel by 2035.

“We want the Government to assist in all communications with consumers during the transitional period to help them make the right technological choices.

“Finally, we’re urging the Government to encourage all interested suppliers in the UK and Europe to evaluate and invest in all new low carbon/greenhouse gas (GHG) fuels and technologies currently being developed and coming to market.

“It is only with the full support of Government that we can hope to make the changes to our industry that would enable us to provide biofuel in place of heating oil to the 1.5million homes across the UK and 686,000 in Ireland.

“We are also calling on the Chancellor not to increase fuel duty this budget – such an increase would impact on our Members’ operating costs and would have to be passed onto consumers, at a time when the Government is looking for our assistance in tackling fuel poverty.

There has been a 10 year freeze on fuel duty and raising this will hit the pockets of our members and their customers.”

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