The SFHA has responded to the Scottish Government’s announcement of a long-term plan for energy efficiency by welcoming its ambition but calls for support to enable housing associations to continue to lead on energy efficiency and the provision of affordable warmth.
Responding to the Scottish Government proposals for a long-term Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme and for enhanced Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing, Labour MP, Sarah Boyack, said: “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 make it clear that ambitious targets need to be supported by Scottish Government investment to bring about the transformational change proposed in today’s announcement.
“What is proposed today represents a welcome level of ambition to ensure housing makes a contribution to reducing carbon emissions but also, crucially to help insulate tenants against rising energy prices.
“While housing associations have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland, their tenants are on average on low incomes and so more likely to be in fuel poverty than the average Scottish household.
“Fuel poverty levels are highest in rural areas off the mains gas grid and these areas particularly require investment and support.
“While housing associations have invested significantly in the energy efficiency of their homes in order to meet existing energy efficiency standards for social housing, we know that the majority of that investment has come from their own resources.
“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.
“Housing associations are ideally placed to lead on home energy efficiency and the development of innovative approaches to providing affordable warmth. They have the numbers of properties, the long-term ownership, the asset management skills and the commitment to social justice to lead on schemes to provide affordable warmth and reduce carbon emissions.
“Our members have already made significant progress in increasing the energy efficiency of their homes and in developing innovative approaches to providing affordable warmth such as renewable heating, district heating and setting up their own not for profit energy company.
“We now call on the Scottish Government to provide the support to enable our members to continue to lead on low carbon affordable warmth while keeping rents affordable.”