Heat on Scottish Government over home energy efficiency

Accusation of lacking “guidance and leadership” and call for a funding increase

Heating dial on a radiator

Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has accused the Scottish Government/ Riaghaltas na h-Alba  of lacking “guidance and leadership” on the incoming changes to home energy efficiency – putting unnecessary pressure on Scotland’s private rental sector.

And the SFHA says its now vital that funding is increased for social landlords so they can continue to help the government to meet its ambitious fuel poverty targets.

SLE has written an open letter to the Scottish Government urging them to immediately publish the finalised regulations and guidance for the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, which are intended to assist landlords in making the required energy efficiency changes to their rental properties.

“We are extremely concerned that this delay in guidance from the Scottish Government could lead to some of rural Scotland’s vital private rented homes being sold or becoming holiday homes,” said Marcelina Hamilton, Policy Adviser (Rural Business & Property).

“Landlords are currently being left in limbo as they await the finalised regulations for energy efficiency.

“The longer we wait for the guidance to be published, the more difficult it will be for landlords to make the required changes on time.

“It is unreasonable to expect landlords to undertake significant energy improvement works before the regulations and guidance have even been published,” she said.

The newly released Scottish House Condition Survey: 2018 showed a 7% decrease in housing association tenants living in extreme fuel poverty.

But social tenants are 19% more likely to be in fuel poverty compared to those living in the private sector – this is despite energy efficiency levels being higher in the social housing sector.

Last year, an SFHA survey found an increase in the number of tenants experiencing, or at risk of, fuel poverty – rising energy prices and welfare reform were cited as reasons.

“No one should be struggling to afford to heat their home or living in fuel poverty, the UK Government must take urgent action to raise social security in line with inflation to ensure no-one has to choose between heating or eating,” said SFHA chief executive Sally Thomas.

“Housing associations and co-operatives are working hard to make their homes more energy efficient and to reduce the cost of heating them for their tenants.

“However, it is vital that funding is increased for social landlords so they can continue to help the government to meet its ambitious fuel poverty targets.

“Additional funding is required for both the installation of energy efficiency measures and face to face advice, which is crucial to addressing fuel poverty,” she said.

As reported by 24housing, the Scottish Government has committed to renewable or low carbon heating in new homes.

New regulations are being developed to ensure all new homes use renewable or low-carbon heating from 2024.


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