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HomeUKTory revolt against ‘premature’ net zero ban on new oil boilers

Tory revolt against ‘premature’ net zero ban on new oil boilers


Rishi Sunak is being urged to remove the net zero ban on new oil boilers, with senior Conservatives warning it will cost votes in rural communities.

New oil boilers will be banned in off-grid homes within three years, and households will be encouraged to switch to heat pumps under government proposals to help reduce heating emissions.

George Eustice, who was environment secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, is now calling for the ban to be removed, describing the policy as “an Ulez for rural communities.”

The ban will affect 1.7 million mostly rural homes that are not connected to the gas grid and would come at least a decade before similar restrictions on other homes.

Mr Eustice believes that instead of banning boilers, homeowners should be encouraged to use green fuels.

He has drafted an amendment to the Energy Bill, believed to be supported by at least a dozen Conservative MPs, introducing effective subsidies for such oil.

‘Extremely hateful choice’

More than 30 Conservative MPs have already written to the prime minister to raise the issue, amid concerns that it could disproportionately affect rural Conservative communities.

Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Eustice said: “Rural communities are about to have their own version of Ulez.”

He told The Telegraph: “They should lift the ban on the sale of boilers and follow a different strategy which would be to properly incentivize renewable fuels in those boilers.”

Nearly half of Conservative constituencies have a higher-than-average number of households without a network connection, according to the Telegraph analysis.

It comes as net zero has become a key battleground for both the Conservatives and Labor ahead of the next election.

Last month, the Conservatives won a by-election in Uxbridge, west London, which was seen as a de facto referendum on the expansion of the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

The daily charge for more polluting cars has been criticized as a tax on poorer households unable to switch to newer, cleaner models.

The Energy Bill is expected to return to Parliament for final approval in the autumn. Green and energy poverty groups also back a delayed introduction of the ban and more support for households to make the switch.

The government is backing heat pumps as the main alternative to oil, gas and coal-fired boilers, in a bid to cut the 14 per cent of UK emissions that come from home heating.

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