Latest CCC Report: Stronger support for hybrids welcomed, but LGUK urge caution on ‘one size fits all’ approach

Monday 29th June 2020

Late last week, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) issued its latest annual report assessing progress in reducing UK emissions over the past year.

The report called for the UK Government to seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change.

The Committee has assessed a wide set of measures and gathered the latest evidence on the role of climate policies in the economic recovery. Its report highlights five clear investment priorities in the months ahead:

  1. Low-carbon retrofits and buildings that are fit for the future.
  2. Tree planting, peatland restoration, and green infrastructure.
  3. Energy networks must be strengthened.
  4. Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely.
  5. Moving towards a circular economy.

The key findings include:

  • That Government grants for low-carbon heat installations are welcome, but inadequate as it would only support deployment of 12,500 heat pumps per year; targeted deployment should be higher.
  • That the 1.5 million oil and LPG boilers should be phased out from later this decade, and the market must scale up to be able to replace the majority of current gas boiler demand by the early 2030s (around 1.5 million installations a year).
  • That hybrid heat pumps (e.g. with a heat pump installed alongside a gas boiler) should be eligible under future Government funding schemes and that they can play a useful role both on and off the gas grid.
  • That the Buildings and Heat Strategy, planned for later in the year, must set a clear direction, backed by standards, towards phasing out installation of new gas boilers by 2035 at the latest and making homes climate resilient. This should be supported by tax or levy changes that favour low-carbon heating.

Commenting on the Committee’s recommendations for a heating strategy, George Webb, CEO, Liquid Gas UK said: “It is clear from today’s report that a mixed-technology approach is needed to reach the Net Zero target. As highlighted, hybrid heat pumps using LPG now and bioLPG in the future are a great opportunity for the decarbonisation of off-grid homes.

But, let’s not forget the major benefits LPG and bioLPG can bring as a standalone solution. Deploying LPG and increasingly bioLPG as part of a mixed-technology approach to off-grid homes would deliver savings of over £7 billion across the 1.5 million off-grid rural homes, as well as reduce carbon emissions by up to 33% and 20% in the short term against coal and oil, respectively. A future transition to bioLPG will then deliver carbon savings of up to 90%, enabling the UK's overall Net Zero target to be hit.

“While there are long-term savings to be had, to get low-carbon heating moving in the right direction, we rightly need incentives in place to encourage homeowners to make the switch. As the CCC said, hybrids provide a great customer and environmental solution and should be backed by Government but are missing from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s plans for the new Clean Heat Grant. Out for consultation now, this must change. We would welcome LPG hybrids to be included in this scheme, to help transition homeowners away from oil and make significant savings in the short term, with the future transition to bioLPG automatic.”

Commenting on the proposed ban of new boiler installations, George Webb added: “The Committee’s recommendation to ban new boiler installations by 2035 is short sighted and ignores the ability of boilers to use hydrogen or biogas, such as bioLPG. Policy makers must recognise that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to domestic heating will not work and that a mix of solutions, alongside heat pumps, will be needed. Hydrogen ready and LPG boilers are future proofed and should not be penalised, but instead supported to allow the easiest transition for consumers across the UK.”

Commenting on the call for low-carbon retrofitting, George Webb said: “As well as switching the fuels that we use to heat our homes, the report rightly highlights the work to be done on retrofitting the existing housing stock and improving energy efficiency. However, before we begin that process, it is vital that we get the methodology in Energy Performance Certificates right and that we don’t punish rural homeowners for not being able to use the cheapest form of heating, natural (mains) gas.  

“While positioned as a measure of energy efficiency, the current methodology used for EPCs is, in reality, actually a measure of energy cost per m2 through the inclusion and weighting of fuel costs. This means that off-grid homeowners are fighting an uphill battle on improving the efficiency of their homes when they are punished for using low-carbon heating systems such as LPG or heat pumps, resulting in a much lower EPC rating than identical home using natural gas.

“We must get the EPC methodology fixed first, before we start asking rural homeowners to start spending thousands of pounds on retrofitting their homes.”

For more information or to discuss how LPG and bioLPG can support the transition to Net Zero, please contact Sophia Haywood, Director of Public Affairs on

The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK