OFTEC's trade association at work
OFTEC supports its members in a wide variety of ways. On this page you can find out more about some key areas of our work on behalf of the liquid fuel heating sector.
Some recent examples of our activities
- Influencing technical legislation
- Clean growth and decarbonisation
- Working in Europe
- Promoting the registration of technicians
Influencing technical legislation
Regulations around the design and use of heating equipment are vital to our industry. We work closely with our members and a wide range of agencies to set and review appropriate standards for oil heating equipment manufacture, installation and servicing. Our Main Technical Group meets regularly and provides a vital forum for technical discussion.
On behalf of our members we respond to all government and industry consultations about oil heating and cooking that relate to the UK and its dependant territories and the Republic of Ireland. Also, through Eurofuel, we respond to European Commission consultations on heating (see below).
We have close working relationships with other industry groups such as the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), Energy Utilities Alliance (EUA) and Heating and Hotwater Council (HHIC). We also work closely with UK government departments and other industry bodies, such as the Environment Agency, Defra, BSI, HSE, BEIS and MHCLG. In the Republic of Ireland we work closely with SEAI and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Clean growth and decarbonisation
Significant change is coming to the heat market that will affect every aspect of the industry. In the UK, there is now a legal duty to be completely carbon free by 2050 while, in the Republic of Ireland, a Climate Action Plan aims to deliver 30% emissions reduction by 2030 and to develop a roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2050.
To achieve these goals, fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal will need to be replaced with low carbon fuels or technologies and the UK government has identified the oil heating sector as a priority for decarbonisation during the 2020s. Alongside the transition to low carbon fuels, huge improvements to home energy efficiency are also needed and both challenges will require significant policy interventions from government. Plans are currently being developed but no firm policy proposals have so far been announced. However, some action needs to be taken quickly, with very significant changes expected, beginning in the 2020s.
We are committed to supporting that challenge while representing the needs of our members and enabling our industry to flourish in the low carbon future.
We show this commitment by:
- Sharing information and promoting the benefits of liquid fuel heating.
- Representing members at meetings with government advisors, officials and civil servants.
- Participating in formal industry stakeholder groups.
- Coordinating responses to government consultations on behalf of members.
- Undertaking lobbying to influence policy development and wider political thinking.
- Commissioning research to support the future of the liquid fuel industry and influence heat policy.
- Collaborating with other sectors of industry, such as fuel distribution, to ensure the needs of our sector are understood and supported.
- Leading projects to develop low carbon liquid biofuels to replace kerosene.
You can find out more about our strategy by visiting our renewable liquid fuels page.
Working in Europe
As a member of Eurofuel, we have close relationships with other liquid fuel heating industries across Europe. Eurofuel represents trade associations from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland. The organisation has a full-time Secretary General based in Brussels and promotes existing and emerging technologies relating to liquid fuelled heating. Through Eurofuel we share best practices, take advantage of research and development throughout Europe and exchange information with the USA.
We also coordinate the industry’s response to EU regulations that will have a significant impact of the heat sector in the UK. The liquid fuel heating sector in the UK and Ireland uses a different fuel to the rest of Europe (kerosene, rather than gas-oil), so our equipment has some unique design features. We work to ensure that these differences are understood so that proposals from the EU Commission do not adversely affect our local industry. A good example of this was the recent Ecodesign and Energy-related Products Directive, which included proposals that would have been very difficult to implement quickly in the UK and Ireland. Following a lengthy lobbying campaign, we were able to secure a short extension, giving manufacturers enough time to make the changes needed.
Promoting the registration of technicians
Ensuring that heating equipment is installed and maintained correctly is important for both homeowners and manufacturers. In the UK and Ireland, it is a legal requirement that technicians who work on gas-fired appliances hold appropriate registration. However, formalised ‘competent person schemes’ for other heating types (and other building trades) have only been recognised by government in England and Wales and, unlike gas, are not mandatory. Elsewhere, while the benefits to consumers of having properly trained and independently inspected heating technicians should be obvious, the legislators in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland have chosen not to act.
We have lobbied hard on this issue, making a strong case for officially recognised registration schemes. Despite this, there is still no government recognition for formalised registration in these regions, but we have made some useful progress. For example, we have convinced the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to ensure the reliability of their grant-funded boiler installation work by requiring that all installers of new condensing boilers are members of a registration scheme. Similarly, OFTEC registration is a requirement for oil installers undertaking work via the Home Energy Scotland scheme.
The government’s aspirations to deploy low carbon heating at scale raise important questions about how competence and best practice will be managed. Protecting consumers remains one our top priorities and we will continue to make the case for registration at every opportunity.
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