Latest Government Reforms to RHI Would Limit Options for Decarbonising Heat

 If enacted, today’s proposals will stop the installation of highly efficient and clean biomass boiler technologies benefitting those in urban areas. The WHA fully support the Governments objectives  to address air pollution concerns, however,  a blanket ban rather than focusing on standards would inevitably be counterproductive.  Such a restrictive policy would limit the available options for the decarbonisation of heat, stopping innovation in regards to heat networks and slowing the Governments progress in meeting its legally binding carbon budgets.

 Modern biomass boilers are already strictly regulated, ensuring that their emissions are tightly controlled, with over 75% of boiler models emitting less than a third of their legal limits.  The RHI itself already ensures that installations do not exceed strict emission levels, which must be met to receive any Government support.

 Neil Harrison, Chair of the Wood Heat Association, states:

 “The latest proposed reforms to the RHI risks being a knee-jerk policy reaction to the air quality crisis. The industry has lobbied for many years for actions to ensure  the very safest levels of emissions from biomass boilers in all parts of the UK, not just urban areas.  Modern biomass boilers, fitted with high-performance filters, achieve particulate emissions equivalent to that of conventional fossil fuelled boilers, while making significant carbon savings.  

 The government should be promoting and enforcing quality standards, rather than applying a blanket ban. Such a ban would cut off one of the key options for the decarbonisation of heat in larger public and private sector buildings, and would ignore experience from every other developed country which has seen the successful deployment of biomass heating across their economy.

 Urban air quality can be best minimised by addressing the much more significant emissions coming from transport and properly enforcing controls provided by Smoke Control Zones and other existing legislation.”


For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Mark Sommerfeld
Policy Manager
+44 0207 925 3580

Notes to editors

About the Wood Heat Association (WHA)

The Wood Heat Association is the UK trade association for the modern biomass heating industry. We bring together wood fuel suppliers, biomass boiler and stove installers and distributors, energy companies and developers. We are fully owned subsidiary of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), and the largest wood and biomass heating trade association with 240 member companies.

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Renewable Energy Association (REA)

The REA is the largest UK trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies. Our 550 + member organisations range from energy utilities and renewable energy developers working across multiple technologies and solutions through to innovative niche technology companies and consultants. Our finance forum and other platforms support member organisations from the investment, insurance and legal sectors that enable this growing economy.

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