One size fits all’ approach failing rural decarbonisation, says UK LPG Industry

Tuesday 5th October 2021

Later this year, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021, in partnership with Italy.

In the run up to the event, Liquid Gas UK, the trade association for the LPG and bioLPG Industry in the UK, are calling on leaders at COP 26 to give rural homes and businesses affordable low-carbon choices as we move to Net Zero.

LPG is an popular choice for home heating and powering businesses. Lower carbon and cleaner burning than traditional fuels, heating oil and coal, LPG offers an immediate improvement in homes and a future proofed system with the transition to bioLPG.

Over 1.3m homes in the UK use heating oil or coal for home heating. These will all need to decarbonise to meet Net Zero, but the ambition of high-levels of electrification of heat for these off-grid buildings seen across the UK is unaffordable and impractical for rural areas.

Research[1] found over 40% of off-grid homes in the UK which can’t affordably or practically take a heat pump, which can cost homeowners upfront between £11K[2] -£18K[3].

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for decarbonising rural homes, and rural homes agree.

  • 87% of people support Government allowing a mix of low carbon technologies to allow residents to choose what is best for them.
  • 88% felt that Government should take more account of rural people’s views.
  • 9-in-10 (93%) of off-grid homeowners would not be able to afford to decarbonise their heating system via heat pumps
  • Over 3/4 rural households were concerned about the upfront cost and ongoing running cost of heat pumps
  • Approximately 6-in-10 were concerned about upheaval of installing a heat pump and its ability to provide consistent, reliable heat
  • 72% would want a back-up heating system, if forced to have a heat pump

Not only do rural households agree, but so do energy experts. Ecuity[4] found that taking a mixed technology approach in the UK would save rural households in the £7bn in the run up to 2050, and still meet Net Zero.

BioLPG is one of the solutions for these homes and businesses. A versatile, ‘drop-in’ renewable solution, bioLPG can provide up to 90% emissions reduction.[5] Already available on the market today, bioLPG is chemically indistinct from LPG and can be used as it is, just like conventional LPG, with no need to upgrade appliances and infrastructure.

Policy makers at COP 26 must ensure a just transition for rural, off-grid homes and businesses, by supporting a mix of low-carbon solutions, not forcing unaffordable or impractical technologies, and truly listening to rural areas opinions.

George Webb, Chief Executive at Liquid Gas UK commented:

“As we approach COP26 and set our sights on reaching Net-Zero by 2050, we are all looking forward to a greener future, but to get there the Government must adopt the right policies to ensure that everyone, including rural homeowners can play their part without being unfairly penalised.

“The only clear, affordable route to decarbonisation is a mixed approach and while heat pumps will have an important role to play, so too will LPG and bioLPG.

“The LPG industry is committed to being part of Net Zero and providing a viable green energy solution, having already invested £106 million into bioLPG. We call for LPG and bioLPG to be supported by the UK Government in upcoming off-grid regulations and for rural areas to be given a just transition in the highly anticipated Heat & Buildings Strategy.”

For more information on the role LPG and bioLPG, read our 2040 Vision.

[1] Ecuity Consulting, Off-grid Heat Decarbonisation Pathways (December 2020)

[2] BEIS data stated by Minister of State for BEIS during Parliamentary Questions September 2020



[5] NNFCC, Biopropane: Feedstocks, Feasibility & our Future Pathway (2019)

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