The survey of 2,026 Scottish residents shows more than half of those asked would support the Scottish government introducing policies to phase out fossil fuel boilers, with 65% believing there should be new rules for better insulation in existing homes at key moments such as buying or selling a property.

Other findings include:

  • 40% would consider installing a heat pump as an alternative to a fossil fuel boiler within the next five years
  • 57% would be willing to purchase a heat pump with some or no government support
  • 71% are aware of the negative impact of oil and gas boilers have on climate change
  • 80% believe higher oil and gas prices contribute to inflation and higher cost of living. 

The survey findings come as the Scottish government prepares to launch a consultation on policies to be included in a Heat in Buildings Bill. This follows the publication in 2021 of the Heat in Buildings Strategy which proposed new rules to phase out the use of oil and gas boilers in houses, and to improve their energy efficiency. These would require action at key points like the replacement of a boiler or when buying and selling a house. A related consultation, to improve the information about energy efficiency and heating systems provided by Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), was launched this week.  

Fabrice Leveque, Climate & Energy Policy Manager at WWF Scotland, said: “These findings show there is strong public support to move away from fossil fuel heating and that people link the use of oil and gas heating to the growing climate emergency.

“Cleaner heating is vital to tackle climate change but can also make the most of Scotland’s abundant renewable energy, protect households from unstable fossil fuel prices, and lower energy bills. Industry and households need clear Scottish government policies and financial support to make the switch and we must see the detail of these proposals without further delay. 

“It’s been five years since the Scottish government first consulted on these proposals and the next steps are overdue.”

Russell Dean, Residential Product Group Director at Mitsubishi Electric, which manufacture heat pumps at its factory in Livingston, said: “Heat pumps are overwhelmingly the favoured source of renewable home heating. By taking positive action and by providing clear guidance for business to support renewable home heating, the government will remove risk and show that it is leading the way to decarbonise homes. This will encourage businesses to invest and innovate at a more rapid rate and show the dynamism that exists in the industry.”