Consultation outcome

Renewable Heat Incentive: biomass combustion in urban areas

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Detail of outcome

In the light of responses to this consultation, we will:

  • not proceed with the removal of eligibility for new biomass installations in on-grid urban areas. Instead, improvements to the scheme will focus on the existing cohort of over 29,000 RHI accredited biomass installations and any new biomass installations accrediting to the RHI for the remainder of the scheme
  • not impose any geographical restrictions on biogas production
  • ensure that industry standards play a stronger role in the future of the RHI to minimise air quality impacts and promote a healthy UK biomass supply chain

We will improve air quality from the existing cohort of accredited installations by:

  • building a fit for purpose fuel quality regime for biomass feedstocks for the remainder of the RHI period
  • working with industry to introduce a maintenance standard
  • working closely with Ofgem and other regulators to strengthen enforcement of the existing RHI Regulations in relation to air quality

Detail of feedback received

We received 59 responses to this consultation from:

  • individuals
  • businesses
  • trade bodies
  • local authorities
  • other organisations

55% of respondents disagreed with the proposal to remove RHI support for new biomass installations in urban areas on the gas grid. A majority of those both for and against the proposed restriction cited that better regulation and enforcement could significantly reduce emissions from biomass installations.

83% of respondents agreed that biogas combustion should remain eligible for RHI support without geographical restriction, highlighting:

  • the role of biogas installations in dealing with urban food waste
  • the potential adverse competitive impacts on industry by conferring an advantage to those in rural areas

100% of respondents agreed with the proposal to require regular maintenance checks for existing biomass boilers.

Original consultation


Proposed changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to exclude further support for biomass installations in urban areas on the gas grid.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

Defra’s Clean Air Strategy, published in May 2018, proposed that further support under the Renewable Heat Incentive should not be available for biomass installations in urban areas with access to the gas grid.

This consultation sets out details of the proposed restrictions and asks for views on the scope and nature of these changes to RHI eligibility.


Renewable Heat Incentive: biomass combustion in urban areas - consultation

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.
Published 16 October 2018
Last updated 28 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Government response published.

  2. First published.