The stay of execution for the technology was revealed in the UK Renewable Energy Strategy consultation document published last week. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) said it had been granted because the renewable heating sector 'is not yet well developed' enough to supply householders with a range of biomass, heat pump and other renewable technology replacements'.
An excerpt from the document reads: 'It has been suggested that the Government could regulate to achieve the gradual phasing out of relatively high-carbon, non-renewable heating technologies in off-gas grid locations where low-carbon and/or renewable heating technologies could be installed.
'However, a pre-condition of taking this approach would be that those heat consumers affected - for example, householders looking to replace oil-fired boilers - would need access to a competitive range of replacement products, which were supported by robust supply chains. This appears unlikely to be deliverable in the UK in the near term.
'Another factor would be managing the impact of such a regulatory change on the existing heat-supplier industries. For these reasons the Government is not at present considering this option.'
A BERR spokesperson said the Government would be exploring this area in a further consultation document on heat, to be published in the autumn. 'We'll be looking at and providing much more detail on that area then,' she said.
Jeremy Hawksley, OFTEC director-general, said: 'We would welcome any measure that encourages householders to replace their old, inefficient oil-fired boilers with more efficient ones. 'Our hope is that by this time next year, the Government will be able to provide biofuel kerosene standards which will be fed into the Building Regulations.
'That may be one way of ensuring oil-fired boilers are just as efficient and effective as gas condensing boilers in terms of their reduced carbon emissions.'