Funding of £54.5m to help tackle fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Speaking at the All Energy conference in Glasgow, the First Minister launched the Route Map to an Energy Efficient Scotland, which outlines action to ensure that by 2040, all homes are improved so they achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least Band C.
The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government’s energy efficiency programme will help ensure all our buildings are warmer, greener and more energy-efficient.
“The major investment in this programme highlights our clear commitment to ensuring that we tackle fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – helping those on low incomes as well as protecting our environment.”
Supported by £54.5m funding, the Route Map confirms that landlords of privately rented homes will be required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of Band E from April 2020 at change of tenancy, and then Band D from 2022. All private rented properties will need to be EPC Band E by end March 2022 and Band D by end March 2025. This is aimed at ensuring private rented tenants live in homes which are warmer and more affordable to heat.
The funding will also support local authorities to expand their existing energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes. And it will continue to support building owners to develop local heat and energy efficiency strategies as well as making funding available to social landlords to help them install low carbon heating systems such as air and ground source heat pumps.
SFHA’s Sarah Boyack commented: “The SFHA welcomes the ambition and long term commitment demonstrated in the announcements made by the First Minister today. The SFHA fully supports ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions and to eliminate poor energy efficiency as a cause of fuel poverty.
“Housing associations have a strong track record in energy efficiency, renewables and affordable warmth — associations have the most energy-efficient homes in Scotland and have a track record of delivering energy efficiency advice and initiatives such as district and renewable heating.”
While welcoming the ambition, however, the SFHA made it clear that ambitious targets need to be supported by Scottish Government investment to bring about the transformational change proposed in today’s announcement.
Sarah Boyack continued: “With these new targets, which are very challenging, there needs to be a discussion on how the significant investment required will be funded. We are therefore calling on long term funding support from the Scottish Government to enable housing associations to continue to lead on energy efficiency and renewables and to provide their tenants with affordable warmth. This funding would meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to treat energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority.”