Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington



Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, the local charity that supports older people in the region, has welcomed the government’s ‘change of heart’ on its absolute ban on oil boilers by 2026.

The charity welcomes the government’s decision to try to force energy companies to provide viable more eco-friendly alternatives to oil including biofuels and hydrogen that would require simple tweaks to existing oil boilers.

Helen Hunter, CEO of Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, said: “I am pleased that the government has finally seen sense that an outright ban on oil boilers would impact very severely on older people and many others in society.

“However, the detail needs to be fleshed out to see whether the government introduces tax incentives for instance to make energy companies switch to alternatives and to make it a viable and cost-effective option for people.”

According to The Office for National Statistics, around 3% of households use oil as their primary source of heating. The charity said that many of these households are low-income or fuel-poor, and that they would struggle to afford the upfront costs of installing heat pumps, which can range from £6,000 to £18,000.

Helen Hunter continued: “Many older people living in rural areas rely on oil boilers for their heating and hot water, and that switching to alternative heating systems such as heat pumps could be costly, disruptive, and ineffective.”

Heat pumps may not be able to provide enough heat for older homes, especially during peak demand periods, and that they may require additional backup heating sources such as electric heaters or wood burners. This could increase the electricity consumption and carbon footprint of these households, as well as pose fire and safety risks.

The charity also expressed its concerns about the availability and sustainability of biofuels and hydrogen for heating. Biofuels are derived from organic materials such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or waste cooking oils. Hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable electricity or from natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Both options have potential environmental benefits, but also face technical challenges, high costs, and limited supply.

The charity urged the government to consult with stakeholders and experts before making any final decisions on the future of home heating. It also called for more support and guidance for older people who may need to adapt their homes to meet the net-zero targets.

“We want to see a fair and realistic transition to low-carbon heating that does not leave anyone behind,” Helen Hunter said. “Older people deserve to live in warm and comfortable homes that are affordable and easy to maintain.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Marie Carter-Robb at or call 07760 477694.


Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington is a nationally registered charity and one of 150 locally based Age UK organisations providing a variety of services to older people aged 50 plus.

Whether it’s through recreational activities, expert information and advice, befriending services or just being somewhere to turn when things get too tough to cope with on your own, Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington provides crucial companionship, advice and support to thousands of people every year.

Community focused, Age UK is dedicated to enhancing the lives of older people in the community through befriending, outreach and social activities as well as providing an invaluable range of social and wellbeing services, including:

  • A cafe and restaurant.
  • A day centre.
  • Exercise & physical activity
  • Meals at home
  • IT Training courses
  • Social activities
back to Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington


Helen Hunter, CEO of Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington.
Helen Hunter, CEO of Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington.
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