Unaffordable and unfair 2025 off-grid boiler ban penalises rural Scots

Monday 27th March 2023

New polling reveals that off-grid homeowners consider the Scottish Government’s plans to ban fossil-fuel boilers from 2025 to be both unaffordable and unfair.

The polling, undertaken by Focal Data for Liquid Gas UK, reveals that over four in five Scottish homeowners - 83% - would be unable to afford a new electric heating system.

The Scottish Government proposes to restrict the use of fossil-fuel boilers in off-grid properties from 2025. In contrast, those connected to the gas network will have up until 2045 to make the switch to an electrified alternative.

76% of respondents felt that the 2025 ban was unfair, with over 60% calling for the ban to be scrapped or delayed.

The findings raise concerns that the ban will penalise rural communities by subjecting them to unaffordable costs and leaving them vulnerable to power outages if they are forced to rely on an electrified system alone.

Fergus Ewing, SNP MSP for Inverness and Nairn, and former Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said:

“It is a real concern that in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, proposals are being advanced that will force rural property owners to purchase heat pumps that a majority cannot afford.

“While the intention to decarbonise heating is a good one, the 2025 ban ignores the realities of rural living. Power cuts are not uncommon, particular in the winter months. Infrastructure upgrades are desperately needed. And it is simply unfair to penalise off-grid home and business owners, when a majority across Scotland will continue to use their conventional gas boilers.

“These proposals are the equivalent of forcing rural communities to put all of their eggs in one basket, complete with a heat pump sized hole in it.”

Liam Kerr, Conservative MSP for the North East and Shadow Energy Secretary, said:

“More than four in five off-grid homeowners have said this ban will be unaffordable and yet Scottish Government ministers remain determined to inflict these costs on rural and island communities.

“These polling results could not be clearer, off-grid homeowners simply cannot afford to replace their heating systems. The ban also ignores the practical challenges associated with fitting heat pumps in older, less energy efficient properties.

“Time and again this SNP-Green government fails to listen to the views and concerns of rural communities. The fact this issue has been raised by cross-party MSPs should be enough to jolt ministers into action.

“The new First Minister should review the 2025 ban as an urgent priority.”

Commenting, George Webb, Chief Executive of Liquid Gas UK, said:

“These results clearly show that that an electrification-first approach to decarbonising rural homes is both unaffordable and unfair.

“The Scottish Government needs to re-think its 2025 boiler ban for homes not connected to the gas grid to ensure we are offering rural communities a choice in how they decarbonise their homes.”

Research shows that replacing a traditional boiler with an electric alternative, along with the required energy efficiency works, would cost between £15,000 - £30,000 for rural Scottish homeowners.


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