PM urged to make U-turn on oil boiler ban, or risk losing rural vote

Prime minister Rishi Sunak is being urged by senior conservative MPs to scrap the net-zero ban on new oil boilers, or risk losing the trust of rural voters.

The ban on new oil boilers, which is set to come into place by 2026, will affect an estimated 1.7m homes that are not connected to the gas grid – the majority of which are rural households.

For many this would require significant and costly upgrades to be compliant, and comes as recent rural polling from Liquid Gas UK found that 69% of households could not afford a new electric heating system.

See also: Net zero slowdown will intensify transition pain for farmers

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, former environment secretary George Eustice called for the ban to be dropped, referring to the policy as a “ULEZ for rural communities”, and saying that instead of banning oil boilers, owners should instead be encouraged to use environmentally friendly fuel.

The Countryside Alliance has also lodged its concern over the policy.

Public affairs director James Legge said: “We recognise the need to move away from fossil fuels in all its uses, but the government must recognise the disproportionate impact this transition will have in rural areas.

He added: “The current infrastructure simply cannot support the increase in demand that these changes will bring.

“While there are alternatives to existing oil boilers, these often require substantial upfront capital investment and are not always suitable for some properties.”

See more