More than 28% of rural households say they could not afford the government’s proposal of installing a new heating system to meet net zero targets.
That’s according to research from Opinium and Liquid Gas UK, which also revealed that 34% of participants could not afford to pay more than £4,000 for a new low carbon heating system, despite the average price of heat pumps ranging from £11,000 to £18,000.
The study suggests that the government’s aim to slash emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2035 will be difficult to achieve.
Around 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions are generated from heating buildings and therefore tackling heat is considered a top priority.
The UK has set a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 but only 3% of rural households stated they believe they are good value for money and as the study highlights, they will be unattainable for many.
Not all respondents were opposed to the idea of decarbonising heat using heat pumps but 88% felt the government is not listening to them and would like them to consider more viable options for rural homes.
George Webb, CEO at Liquid Gas UK, commented: “It is clear that if the government is serious about meeting its ambition to cut 78% of carbon emissions by 2035, it must drop its one-size-fits-all approach to decarbonising heating and begin to take seriously the views of rural homeowners and adopt policies that reflect the specific nature of homes in rural areas.
“Many off-grid homeowners simply can’t afford a heat pump and even if they could, electrification alone will not be the answer to every home.
“Many off-grid properties are old and would require heavily and expensively insulating homes in order for a heat pump to be effective and deliver the level of heating required.”