Schools, businesses and other organisations in rural, off gas grid areas are being advised to ignore misleading marketing claims stating that 'oil heating will be outlawed by 2030', following reports that a number have been targeted by renewable heating solution providers, encouraging them to switch to alternative systems ahead of the false 'deadline'.
OFTEC and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) have been contacted by several educational establishments concerned about their future options for heating after reading the claims made in promotional brochures and online.
Although government's Clean Growth Strategy, published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in October 2017, includes a broad ambition to end the installation of new, high carbon fossil fuel heating, no specific policy proposals have been developed in this area. There are also no plans to ban the use of existing high carbon fossil fuel heating systems.
As a result, both organisations have referred the matter to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
Commenting on the situation, OFTEC CEO Paul Rose said: "Naturally the schools were worried about these false claims which led them to believe they would need to switch to other forms of heating in the near future. This information is untrue.
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, the misleading marketing material also fails to mention that our industry is currently working to develop low carbon liquid biofuels. These would directly replace kerosene and enable oil heating customers to significantly reduce carbon emissions without the need for expensive - and often impractical - appliance changes.
"We are concerned the misinformation may have been sent to many other organisations and hope that, with greater awareness, the myths can be dispelled."
FPS CEO Guy Pulham also highlighted the need for government to ensure consumers and businesses are not misled: "For rural businesses to make informed investment plans, they need clear, accurate guidance. It's essential that government sets out clear decarbonisation policies and takes action to prevent the kind of false claims we've highlighted in this case.
"It's also vital that consumers and rural businesses are consulted as part of debate about the best ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions".