Scotland ‘risks missing fuel poverty and net zero targets’ without accelerated transition to warm homes and clean heat

Scotland 'risks missing fuel poverty and net zero targets' without accelerated transition to warm homes and clean heat

Gillian Campbell (Photo credit: Susan Torkington)

Legally binding targets on fuel poverty and net zero will be missed without new, fit-for-purpose legislation on heat in buildings, the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA) has warned.

Following hard on the heels of the news that nearly a third of Scotland’s households are now in fuel poverty, the Alliance is urging the Scottish Government to push ahead with new legislation that it says could “transform homes and communities across Scotland”.

It is anticipated that the Heat in Buildings Bill, if passed, would prohibit the use of polluting heating from 2045 and require homeowners (including short-term lets and empty homes) to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard by the end of 2033. It would also require private landlords to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard by the end of 2028.

With the government’s consultation on proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill closing this Friday, EHA, which is a coalition of organisations from across the public, private and third sector, has urged policymakers to use the Bill to create warm, healthy homes with affordable bills.

With approximately 20% of Scotland’s annual carbon emissions coming from heating properties, EHA says homeowners, landlords and the supply chain in the housing sector must be incentivised and supported if Scotland is to have any hope of reaching net zero by the 2045 deadline.

Gillian Campbell, Existing Homes Alliance communications and public affairs lead, said: “Scotland has a statutory target to reach net zero by 2045, but that won’t be met unless we have clear regulations on how we heat our homes.

“The Scottish Government has a real opportunity with the Heat in Buildings Bill to, not only provide clarity for homeowners, but to give a clear signal to industry that there is a pipeline of work that creates opportunities for growth right across the country.

“With 80% of Scotland’s existing housing stock likely to still be in use by 2050, making it affordable and desirable for homeowners and landlords to install clean heating systems is critical to our net-zero ambitions.

“Making our homes easier to heat by improving their energy efficiency will also play a crucial part in eradicating fuel poverty. With around a third of households now living in fuel poverty, policymakers must seize the moment to help households manage high energy bills.

“If we get this right, the Heat in Buildings Bill could help us address two of the biggest challenges we face over the next 20 years - eliminating fuel poverty and ending climate change emissions from Scotland’s homes.”

In its consultation response, EHA also called for:

  • A new package of advice and support to deliver a just transition to energy efficient, clean heat homes.
  • Full funding for households living in fuel poverty, with support available for more expensive energy efficiency measures such as solid wall and solid floor insulation.
  • Support for developing the supply chain, particularly in rural areas.

The consultation closes on Friday 8 March and a summary of the EHA’s response can be viewed in full here.

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