OFTEC Fights the Oil Boilers’ Corner in Brussels

OFTEC (the Oil Firing Technical Association) is putting pressure on the EU to ensure the UK and the Republic of Ireland continue to use oil for boiler heating and cooking.

Currently the EU Commission has tabled a proposal that is set to reduce the permitted level of NOx emissions from central heating boilers dramatically from 250mg/kWh to as low as 35 mg/kWh. These changes are part of the Eco-Design of Energy Using Products Directive (EUPD), which is due to pass into UK national law in 2009.

OFTEC’s Technical Director Alan Black questioned the proposals at the latest consultation in Brussels via the organisation’s European partner Eurofuel. The proposal threatens the viability of using boiler fired boilers in the UK. He commented that “in order to achieve the lower levels of NOx, it is required to have a much larger burner and boiler that is the norm in the UK. Within Europe, most boiler installations are within purpose build boiler rooms or in cellars, while in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the boilers installations are usually positioned in confined spaces such as kitchens and cupboards. Such new proposal will effectively mean the end of oil fired boiler in installations in the UK.

OFTEC is courting support form the government to help achieve a more realistic level for NOx reduction. There are 1.5 million households in the UK that are using oil boilers that would be forced to replace their boiler or replace their fuel to a more expensive fuel. Latest estimates put the cost of heating a 3 bedroom home with an oil condensing boiler at around £769 per annum in the UK. Using electricity and LPG as an alternative heating fuels would cost which cost £989 and £1,214 respectively per annum for the same household.

Furthermore the new directive will have job losses implication in the plumbing and heating sector and the manufacturing sector. With the shrinking market, boiler manufacturers in the UK are likely to have to close down their operations leading to many job losses. OFTEC estimates that approximately 21,000 jobs could be at risk in the oil boiler and heating sector.