We need to take a radically new approach to improving the energy performance of Scotland’s homes by making energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. This would give a project to improve our housing stock the same political focus, and the same kind of multi-year, multi-billion-pound budgets that we give to spanning the Forth with a new bridge or dualling our major roads. All the parties currently represented in the Scottish Parliament have already committed to making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority in last year’s Climate Change Leaders’ Agreement, something that Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has been advocating strongly in its manifesto for the 2016 elections and elsewhere. And the Scottish Government announced that this approach would be the centrepiece of its response to Scotland’s fourth missed climate change target last year. But the challenge is to move from commitments to reality, by setting out a clear goal for the project, a clear plan for how it would be delivered, and a clear budget and financing strategy. Civic organisations across Scotland, including SCCS and WWF, and other groups campaigning around health, poverty, business, and children, recently set out their vision for what this approach should look like. We believe all homes need to be upgraded to a C energy rating by 2025, backed by funding of upwards of £10 billion over the next decade, split between the public and private sectors. Those who can’t pay must be supported with grants to improve their houses; those who are able to pay should have access to low or zero interest loans. A project of this scale means upgrading around 130,000 homes a year over the next decade. But if we succeed we will help to slash fuel bills, address fuel poverty, reduce climate emissions, tackle excess winter deaths and ease pressure on NHS budgets, and stimulate up to 9,000 net jobs a year, spread across Scotland.
Scotland on Sunday 14th Feb 2016 read more »