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A proposal for rural households to run their heating systems on hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) was set to be considered by UK MPs, The Guardian reported.

The UK’s former environment secretary George Eustice said he would be introducing a bill proposing the removal of duties on renewable liquid heating fuels and incentives to replace kerosene in existing boilers.

An estimated 1.7M UK households in rural communities used kerosene boilers, the 11 January report said.

Under government plans, homes with “off-grid” gas connections would be banned from buying replacement boilers from 2026 and in their place install air source or ground source heat pump systems.

However, Eustice, the Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, told parliament on 11 January that the costs involved in installing heat pumps in older rural properties presented a “huge barrier”. Instead, Eustice said, kerosene oil boilers could run on HVO with a “minor adaptation” and reduce related greenhouse gas emissions by 88%.

Eustice told The Guardian: “The government has pursued a heat-pump-first strategy but the cost to some households is prohibitively expensive and will create a whole new industry of patching up old boilers. A good option is being overlooked here in favour of the best option, but if emissions can be reduced significantly and quickly it makes sense.”

Eustice has called for an extension of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation that requires major fuel manufacturers or importers to purchase a proportion of their fuel from renewable sources. He said he wanted to see the system, which in effect subsidises renewable fuel, extended to suppliers of fuel for homes.

He said he hoped there would be an amendment to the energy bill, which set out large-scale changes for the industry and was being scrutinised by the House of Lords.

“This system means less waste of resources because the fuel can run on existing boilers and central heating infrastructure with a simple, low-cost adaptation to the boiler,” Eustice was quoted as saying.

UK householders with off-grid heating had voiced concerns over the sharp rise in energy bills last year, the report said, and households using alternative fuels such as biomass or heating oil had been offered a £200 “alternative fuel payment”, which had been announced in December.