Energy efficiency: Alliance urges Government to act
Over 50 civic organisations have joined forces to call on the Scottish Government to take action to improve energy efficiency in housing.
Existing Homes Alliance, which includes anti-poverty campaigners, environmental groups and construction bodies, has urged the Scottish Government to ensure that by 2025 all homes in Scotland are at least an Energy Performance Certificate band ‘C’.
The Alliance said the move would help to reduce fuel poverty, cutting household fuel bills, lowering climate change emissions, creating jobs and preventing ill-health.
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It estimated that cold, damp and draughty homes cost the NHS between £48m and £80m per year in Scotland.
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 [an independent review aimed at tackling health inequality] 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.”
Responding, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “Tackling fuel poverty and climate change are key priorities for the Scottish Government which is why since 2009 we have invested over half a billion pounds in fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures, and this year we have allocated a record budget of £119 million.
“The breadth of support shown in the Joint Statement is a great endorsement of the decision by Scottish Ministers in June to designate energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. We will develop a programme to deliver this over the next two years, including the planned devolution of new powers under the Scotland Bill, and look forward to working with the Existing Homes Alliance, its members and other stakeholders.”
With 39 per cent of Scottish households classified as ‘in fuel poverty’, better energy efficiency could help Scotland’s most vulnerable people. The Alliance claimed that making every home Grade C in energy performance would reduce fuel costs by over £400 per year for households and create 8-9,000 jobs each year.
Meanwhile demand for heating makes up 45 per cent of Scotland’s climate emissions.
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.”
Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone welcomed the statement, arguing that Government action is “still way below what is required”.
She said: “At the Scottish Greens conference at the weekend we announced our intention to push for 6,500 apprenticeships to support the delivery of this national priority. The Existing Homes Alliance aim that by 2025 all homes are at least an Energy Performance Certificate band ‘C’ is ambitious but necessary if we’re serious about tackling fuel poverty, climate change emissions and preventing.”