Call to make heating a part of building law

Stephanie Clark
Stephanie Clark

Scottish Renewables has called for a change in planning rules in Glasgow to force developers to consider low cost communal heating systems.

The trade organisation, which has 300 members, says the move would slash the number of city households living in fuel poverty.

London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool councils already require those building homes or offices to first consider affordable, low carbon alternatives to gas boilers or electric heaters.

This can include district heating systems which distribute heat generated in a centralized location using fuel like wood pellets.

The Scottish Government has set a target that 11 per cent of heat should come from renewables by 2020 - the figure is at present 3 per cent.

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, told the Glasgow Evening Times: “As a society, we take warm homes and workplaces and constant hot water from granted.

“But if we are to have any chance of meeting our 2020 targets, we urgently need to re-think our relationship with heat and the way it is generated, transported and used.”

Athletes' Village
Athletes’ Village

A number of developments in Glasgow, including the Athletes’ Village and a Cube Housing Association scheme in Maryhill, have district heating systems which provide much cheaper energy.

Ms Clark added: “District heating gives us a chance to make a significant dent in the number of people living in fuel poverty in Glasgow by providing affordable, low carbon heat to some of the most densely populated parts of the city.

“Inspirational changes to planning rules in London and other UK cities have hugely increased the take-up of lows carbon heat and show how a willingness on the part of both local authorities and developers can create benefits for everyone in society.”

Around 900,000 Scottish households are living in fuel poverty, which means they spend more than 10 per cent of their household income on fuel.

Cube Housing Association’s district heating system in the Wyndford estate recently won a top UK award.

Cube chairwoman Liz Ruine said: “The estate has been transformed with tenants and homeowners not only cutting their fuel bills but also doing their bit for the environment.”

However Glasgow City Council planners have no plans to make the installation of district heating systems a condition of larger housing and office developments.

A council spokesman said: “While district heating systems have many benefits - and the Athletes’ Village is a fantastic example of such a system - and are being considered for certain sectors in the city, it is not a policy position at present to make them a planning condition for developments over a certain size.”

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