Heating of our building stock is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions on the island. The residential sector alone contributes the third-largest proportion of emissions on the Isle of Man, accounting for roughly 20% of the Island’s total annual emissions. If we are to reach net-zero by 2050 it will be vital for us to decarbonise our buildings, and new homes and buildings will lead the way in this transition.
From 1st January 2025, the Climate Change Act 2021 makes it illegal to install fossil fuel heating systems into new buildings. The Act was consulted on in 2019 with strong support for this initiative (view the results).
Gas and oil are fossil fuels, which we know we will need to move away from to limit rising global temperatures. New build properties are easier and cheaper to decarbonise than older buildings, which need to be retrofitted to accommodate low carbon heating systems and require other fabric upgrades to make those systems work efficiently.
England are following this same course of action and timescales through the adoption of the Future Home Standard (FHS), which improves energy efficiency in new buildings. The tightening of such energy efficiency measures are making it more and more difficult for fossil fuel heating systems to meet the requirements. The FHS is not limited to the issue of fossil fuel heating systems and it is expected that the Isle of Man will also adopt this standard and its wider benefits. Scotland are expected to be banning fossil fuel heating systems from 2024, and Northern Ireland from 2025.
Ban on fossil fuel heating systems in new buildings from 1 January 2025
From 1st January 2025 it will be illegal to install a fossil fuel heating system in a new building.
This will apply to:
- new domestic and non-domestic buildings.
- new buildings, as defined in building control legislation. This means that the ban will apply where the system is to be installed in a new extension.
This will not apply to:
- replacement fossil fuel heating systems in existing buildings.
- the use of an existing fossil fuel heating system in a new extension by the installation of pipework and/or radiators connecting a new extension to an existing fossil fuel heating system.
This change is a result of section 28 of the Climate Change Act 2021, which states that: a person who installs a fossil fuel heating system on or after 1 January 2025 —
(a) in a new building; or
(b) for use in a new building, commits an offence.
Maximum penalty —
(summary) — a fine of level 5 on the standard scale;
(on information) — a fine.
This change in the law in relation to new buildings, may affect whether existing Planning and/or Building Control approvals can be implemented and not be in contravention of the Climate Change Act. If you are due to commence or carry out the work on installation of a fossil fuel boiler in a new building you must have completed the installation before 1st January 2025.
Following that date, you will not be able to install it. You will need to resubmit your planning application and make an amendment to your building control application to accommodate a non-fossil fuel system.
The Climate Change Plan 2022-2027 contains an action to bring forward the fossil fuel heating systems ban in new builds from 2025 to 2024, an action supporting the reduction of emission targets over the next five years and beyond.
A consultation took place from 17 March to 12 May 2023 to seek views on proposals to refuse Building Control approval on applications for new buildings containing a fossil fuel heating systems from 1 August 2023.
These proposals would see a 62% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to installing fossil fuel boilers in new homes and would avoid up to 15,000 tonnes of ‘locked in’ CO2 emissions.
Consultation Proposals Explained: New Buildings and Extensions
Plans for a new building submitted to Building Control from 1 August 2023 that contain fossil fuel heating systems will be refused unless planning permission has already been obtained.
This will not apply to plans submitted for:
Ban on fossil fuel heating systemsin new buildings from 1 January 2025
A proposal to refuse building control applications from 1 August 2023 will achieve a62% reduction in CO2 emissions
compared to installing fossil fuel boilers in new homes and would avoid up to 15,000 tonnes of ‘locked in’ CO2 emissions.
Oil and gas boilers are fossil fuel heating systems. This includes oil and gas storage and supply components such as oil tanks, gas tanks and mains gas connections.
Part of the consultation will seek feedback to define what is – and is not – a fossil fuel heating system. This will define more clearly what systems are prohibited by the upcoming 2025 ban and which applications will be refused if the new proposals are implemented.
From 1 January 2025 fossil fuel heating systems will not be permitted to be installed in new homes and buildings on the Isle of Man, which will be designed to be heated differently. Alternatives already in use are;
- air source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps;
- heat networks;
- solar thermal and solar thermal storage systems;
- electric storage heaters;
- electric boilers;
- fuel cells; and
- direct electric heaters (including electric panel heaters, electric fan heaters, thermal fluid-filled radiators, and electric radiant heaters).
You should ask your architect or builder which option is best for your property.
There is currently no requirement for homes that we currently live in or existing buildings undergoing refurbishment to replace their fossil fuel heating system. If however, your system is coming to the end of its life, we would recommend considering a low carbon heating system.
The following grants are available to make existing homes more energy efficient;
The Energy Efficiency Scheme 2022 provides simple but effective energy efficiency measures free to eligible households.
The Green Living Grant Scheme provides up to £6,000 in financial assistance offered in the form of a Manx Home Energy Audits (MHEA) alongside a Green Living Grant, which provides 50% matched grant support towards approved works assisting Island residents with the reduction of carbon emissions and household energy bills.
No they will not be allowed to be installed in new building as hydrogen is not currently available for home heating on the Island and appears unlikely to be in the near future. As hydrogen ready boilers can burn natural gas, they are prohibited by the ban. If hydrogen for home heating becomes available in the future, an exception could be reconsidered.
Biofuels are not currently available for home heating on the Island. As biofuel ready boilers can burn fossil fuel oil, they are prohibited by the ban. If biofuels for home heating becomes available in the future, an exception could be reconsidered.
AGAs or similar appliances that run on coal and wood are permitted as they are 'multi fuel boilers'. However, AGAs or similar appliances that run on oil or gas and are connected to radiators or water heaters are not permitted.
The term ‘new building’ in Building Control legislation includes extensions.
The ban only applies if the boiler (or the oil or gas supply or storage components e.g. tank, mains connection) are being installed in the new extension. This also applies if you are installing a new or moving an existing fossil fuel heating system to the new part of the building such as a new utility or garage. Connecting a new extension to a fossil fuel heating system in an existing building is allowed.
If you are building a new extension and are planning to install a low carbon heating system such as an air source heat pump, homeowners will need be mindful that they have the appropriate energy efficiency measures in place in the existing building to make sure these systems run effectively.
The efficiency of low carbon heating systems such as ASHPs means that emissions will still fall by comparison to installing a fossil fuel system, even though electricity is currently generated by gas. Furthermore, Manx Utilities’ Transition Programme will include at least 20MW of renewables by 2026, additional renewables between 2026 and 2030 and having a carbon neutral electricity from 2030.