Aileen Campbell: Housing vital to achieving Scotland’s climate change aspirations
Following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan update, communities secretary Aileen Campbell reflects on progress so far, and opportunities to build a greener future as part of Housing to 2040 plans.
Housing policy has a vital role to play in achieving many of Scotland’s aspirations, including tackling child poverty and ending homelessness, eradicating fuel poverty and tackling
We want to combine the action we need to meet the challenge of the climate emergency with our ambition to provide affordable, warm homes.
By the end of 2021, we will have allocated over £1 billion since 2009 to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency, including £198 million this year.
This investment has already lowered bills and reduced CO2 emissions as well as supported the creation of jobs, training opportunities and innovations.
However, the pace of decarbonising Scotland’s existing and new domestic and non-domestic buildings has to increase significantly to achieve our targets on climate change. We will take a careful approach to ensure we achieve both our climate change and fuel poverty targets and ensure the burden does not fall on those least able to pay for the transition to net zero.
As an example of our commitment, last week we opened a consultation on proposed rules which would require zero emissions heating systems in all new build homes.
The New Build Heat Standard would mean all new build homes must have heating that produces zero direct greenhouse gas emissions, helping to meet climate change targets.
The measures aim to ensure that heating systems in all new buildings given consent from 2024 are zero-emissions, in line with the recommendation from the UK Committee on Climate Change that this is achieved from 2025 at the latest.
The consultation sets out a range of outcomes for the standard to achieve, including ensuring new homes and non-residential buildings are affordable to heat, supporting the delivery of a continued supply of high quality homes, and offer opportunities for retraining and upskilling workers to install zero emissions heating systems.
In our 2018-19 Programme for Government, we committed to creating a vision for how our homes and communities should look and feel by 2040 and the options and choices to get there.
We consulted widely on our draft vision and principles between December 2019 and February 2020, asking for bold and innovative ideas to help make our vision a reality.
Our work on Housing to 2040 is progressing and as part of that we are considering stakeholders’ views on the importance of shared green and open spaces in improving the areas around our homes, promoting connected places and vibrant communities.
We are also considering how green and open spaces, along with access to active modes of travel and easy access to services and amenities can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as promoting physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The responses from our recent consultation along with the wealth of evidence and information gathered throughout our engagement will help us to set out an ambitious 20-year plan to deliver good quality, energy efficient, zero carbon housing with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services.