Civic alliance calls for end to cold homes ‘blighting’ Scotland

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson

A powerful alliance of over 50 civic organisations is calling on the Scottish Government to end the blight of Scotland’s draughty, unhealthy homes by 2025.

The group, ranging from the Church of Scotland to the Federation of Master Builders, today urged Holyrood to take a long-term approach to improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s buildings.

By doing so, the group argues that many benefits will be realised, including helping to reduce fuel poverty, cutting household fuel bills, lowering climate change emissions, creating jobs and preventing ill-health.

A statement from the group details some of the key benefits of taking a long-term approach to improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes:

  • Fuel Poverty – It would help lift households out of fuel poverty. 39 per cent of Scottish households are classified as ‘in fuel poverty’.
  • Household Bills – It would reduce fuel costs by over £400 per year for households.
  • Jobs – It would create a 8-9,000 net increase in jobs per year, spread across Scotland.
  • Health – It is estimated that cold, damp and draughty homes cost the NHS £48m-80m per year in Scotland.
  • Climate Emissions – 45 per cent of Scotland’s climate emissions currently come from demand for heating. This project would help to significantly reduce those emissions.

It follows an announcement in June 2015 from the Scottish Government that it intends to make home energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. The groups are calling for the Scottish Government to set an ambitious goal for that project, by committing to a goal that by 2025 all homes in Scotland are at least an Energy Performance Certificate band ‘C’.

Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said: “It was great to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. This is vital if we as a nation are to end fuel poverty blighting our homes and step up to the challenge of climate change.

“However, we now need to see concrete proposals and clear goals from the Scottish Government to make this happen. These should include a goal of helping all homes reach a C energy performance standard by 2025, and a commitment to major long-term funding to support investment in energy efficiency.”

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “Too many children across Scotland are growing up in cold homes, with fuel poverty affecting four in every ten households. The comprehensive Marmot review showed that this more than doubles their chances of suffering respiratory conditions like asthma, as well as impacting adversely on mental health, educational attainment and emotional wellbeing. Supporting all homes to reach a C standard will improve the physical and emotional health of families across Scotland and help to improve the life chances of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.”

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, added: “Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is a huge opportunity to build a stronger economy and a more just Scotland. Research shows that bringing all homes up to at least a C energy performance standard would create 8-9,000 jobs a year distributed across communities in Scotland, new training and skills development opportunities and offer an excellent return on investment in generating employment and economic growth compared to other infrastructure investments.”

The full list of organisations:

Age Scotland; Association for the Conservation of Energy; Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers; Barnardo’s Scotland; BCA Insulation; British Board of Agrement; British Lung Foundation Scotland; Built Environment Forum Scotland; Changeworks; Chartered Institute of Housing; Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland; Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland; Church of Scotland; Citizens Advice Scotland; Ecosave Insulation; Edinburgh World Heritage Trust; Energy Action Scotland; Energy Bill Revolution; Energy Saving Trust; Energy Agency; Federation of Master Builders; Friends of the Earth Scotland; GMB; Instagroup; Institution of Civil Engineers; John Muir Trust; Kingspan; Knauf; MP Rendering; National Insulation Association; National Society of Apprentices Scotland; National Union of Students; One Parent Families Scotland; Poverty Alliance; Rawlplug; Rockwool; Royal College of General Practitioners; Royal College of Nursing Scotland; Saint-Gobain; Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation; Scottish Building Federation; Scottish Council for Development and Industry; Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; Scottish Energy Installers Alliance; Scottish Federation of Housing Associations; Scottish Trades Union Congress; Scottish Youth Parliament; Share; Shelter Scotland; Stop Climate Chaos Scotland; UK Green Building Council; Unison Scotland; Wetherby Building Systems; WWF Scotland.