Publication - Impact assessment

Heat policy statement: equality impact assessment

Published: 2 Jul 2015
Directorate:
Energy and Climate Change Directorate
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781785444418

This Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) was done to inform and accompany our heat policy statement.

10 page PDF

201.9 kB

10 page PDF

201.9 kB

Contents
Heat policy statement: equality impact assessment
Heat Policy Statement Equality Impact Assessment

10 page PDF

201.9 kB

Heat Policy Statement Equality Impact Assessment

Policy Title

Heat Policy Statement

Which national outcome does it contribute to?

The Heat Policy Statement contributes to the Scottish Government’s Greener and Healthier Strategic Objectives. It impacts on the following National Outcomes:

  • We live in well-designed sustainable places where we are able to access amenities and services we need.
  • We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and our productions.

What is the purpose of the policy?

The Scottish Government’s Heat Policy Statement ( HPS) sets out how low carbon heat can reach more householders, business and communities and a clear framework for investment in the future of heat in Scotland. It discusses how Scotland might reduce the amount of energy used for heat, diversify sources of heat, provide increased security of heat supply, greater local control and reduce the pressure on household energy bills.

It also discusses actions being taken to stimulate potential investment to deliver de-carbonised heat through growing and emerging sectors such as district heating and geothermal; and support industries and business sectors through identifying opportunities for heat efficiency, heat recovery, and renewable sources.

Uptake of low carbon and renewable heat technologies will make a significant contribution to meeting Scotland’s climate change targets and support the delivery of our renewable heat target.

Name of Branch/Division

Heat, Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Investment

Directorate or Agency

Energy and Climate Change

Lead EQIA official

Joyce Whytock

The Assessment Process

We consulted on an Interim Equality Impact Assessment in parallel with the Draft Heat Generation Policy Statement ( HGPS) between March and June 2014. Responses were invited from all interested parties including key national representative equalities organisations. As part of the consultation process, consultation events were held at a variety of locations, including Glasgow, Perth, Edinburgh and Inverness, where stakeholders had an opportunity to hear about the HGPS first hand and raise any issues. The HGPS was also presented and discussed at the Fuel Poverty Forum. The finalised Equality Impact Assessment takes account of the views received.

The Equalities Impact Assessment, considers evidence under the following headings: Age, Disability, Gender (including pregnancy and maternity), Gender Identity / Transgender People, Sexual Orientation, Religion and belief. The equality analysis helped inform the development of the policy and monitoring arrangements.

Gathering and Analysing the Evidence

Heat Generation is relevant to all sectors: householders; communities; businesses including industry; and the public sector. They can all benefit from action taken to decarbonise the heat system across the heat hierarchy: to reduce the need for heat; to supply heat efficiently and at least cost to consumers and to use low carbon and renewable heat sources.

Promoting a low carbon economy is key to the Scottish Government's over-arching purpose of sustainable economic growth. Using the heat hierarchy to Increase the availability of affordable low carbon heat to homes, communities, businesses, the public sector can help tackle fuel poverty, mitigate rising fuel costs, improve business profitability, create jobs and ensure public services are delivered cost effectively. With heat making up over half of all energy demand, and rising fuel costs driving more households into fuel poverty it is essential that we continue to encourage and promote action that reduces the need for heat such as energy efficiency measures and behaviours, efficient supply of heat and decarbonisation of the heat sector, at least cost to the consumer. This is key to tackling climate change; tackling fuel poverty; as well as working towards realising our renewable energy ambitions for Scotland by 2050.

The Interim Equality Impact Assessment set out known evidence for each of the equality groups listed above and requested any additional evidence which could be used to help inform the development of the Heat Policy Statement. None of the national equalities representative organisations which we consulted raised specific concerns about the proposals in the draft HGPS or presented additional information on which we could draw.

While no new equality specific issue were raised during the consultation, Citizens Advice Scotland participated in the Edinburgh stakeholder consultation event and submitted a written representation on issues affecting the fuel poor. This was taken into consideration when finalising the HPS. Responses received to the consultation, who agreed to making their response publically available can be viewed on the following link:- http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/07/4470

Age

Evidence from research and statistics

Information on the age profile of Scotland’s population is contained in the High Level Summary of Statistics and Trends [1] . The 2012 Scottish House Condition Survey [2] found that 55% of single pensioner households (196,000) were fuel poor. 23% of single pensioner households experienced extreme fuel poverty. The Home Energy Scotland hotline may ask for a householder’s date of birth if they feel it is relevant to helping provide them with support. For example, people over the age of 60 may qualify for a grant under the Energy Assistance Scheme and UK wide schemes such as winter fuel payments and Affordable Warmth Scheme.

The Scottish House Condition Survey contains information on instances of fuel poverty in Scotland, in particular for pensioner groups and the Scottish Health Survey contains information on health inequalities and an ageing population, which has the potential to further add to the growth in fuel poverty.

Effects /Impacts

Evidence suggests that older people and families with young children spend more time at home and may therefore incur larger fuel bills. Measures are already in place to help address the needs of older people, for instance people over the age of 60 may qualify for a grant under the Energy Assistance Scheme and UK wide schemes such as winter fuel payments. There is existing Scottish Government Policy on reducing Fuel Poverty. [3]

The HPS may provide further positive benefits if, as expected, increased energy efficiency measures and availability of affordable low carbon heat, to homes helps to ease the pressure on domestic fuel bills, helping to reduce the incidence of fuel poverty.

Disability

Evidence from research and statistics

Data from the Scottish Household Survey suggests that around a quarter of adults in Scotland has a disability and/or a long-term illness and the Scottish Health Survey contains information related to increasing health inequalities in Scotland related to long term health conditions such as asthma, cardio-vascular disease, etc.

Effects / Impacts

Around a quarter of adults have a disability or long term illness, with almost half being older people. Many are likely to spend more time at home than the general population and therefore may incur larger fuel bills. Measures are already in place to assist in addressing the needs of people with disabilities or long term illness through the payment of benefits such as the Disability Living Allowance and those over the age of 60, may qualify for a grant under the Energy Assistance Scheme and UK wide schemes such as winter fuel payments and Affordable Warmth Scheme. There is existing Scottish Government Policy on reducing Fuel Poverty [4] .

Links between low temperatures in homes and respiratory disease are well documented. Damp caused by cold houses, or condensation can lead to increased algal and fungal growth in buildings, exacerbating susceptibility to asthma. Respiratory conditions, aches and pains and nervous conditions may also be attributed to damp housing [5] . It is estimated that dampness could affect some 430,000 houses posing a significant health risk for Scotland. [6]

Taking forward the policies set out in the HPS may provide positive benefits if, as expected, increased energy efficiency measures and availability of affordable low carbon heat to homes helps to ease the pressure on domestic fuel bills, helping to reduce fuel poverty. Increasing the number of effectively heated homes may also have a positive health impact for those with long term health conditions particularly for those with respiratory conditions.

Gender

Evidence from research and statistics

Information on the gender profiles of Scotland’s population is contained in the Scottish Household Survey 2012. 52% of the population in Scotland is female, 48% is male.

The latest update to the Equalities Evidence Finder [7] cites the Scottish House Condition Survey 2010, as showing households headed by women were more likely to be experiencing fuel poverty than those headed by men. Though the energy efficiency of dwellings where a woman is the head of the household is slightly better than where the head of the household is a man.

There are more fuel poor households where the highest income householder is a woman than those with a male highest income householder. Women make up the majority of those dependent on State Pensions and Pension Credits, constituting about 64% of both benefits in 2005. The majority of women who are over 75 live alone, and they face a higher risk of living in poverty.

The 2012 Scottish Household Survey indicates that single parent families, a high percentage of which are headed by women, are at risk with 31% living in fuel poverty.

The findings of a study by Scottish Renewables (published 14 Jan 2014) suggests 11,695 people are currently in full-time employment in Scotland’s Renewables Industry; over a quarter (28%) of whom are female.

Effects / Impacts

Decarbonising the heat system across the heat hierarchy could potentially help to ease the pressure on household energy bills, helping reduce fuel poverty. This is particularly the case for single parent households where they are at increased risk of living in fuel poverty.

The impact of damp and mould on respiratory conditions are greater in children and more prevalent amongst those living in low income families. [8] Taking action to reduce fuel poverty and the number of families living in cold homes is likely to have positive effects on the living conditions of infants and young children in low income families if energy efficiency measures and the supply of affordable heat is increased leading to more homes being heated effectively in future. However the link between fuel poverty and diminished health is less clear, with the Fuel Poverty Evidence Review not finding any conclusive evidence of this.

Gender Identity / Sexual Orientation

Evidence from research and statistics

There is little information available on heat use or the level of fuel poverty for transgender people or in relation to sexual orientation beyond the data available for the general population.

Effects / Impacts

Decarbonising the heat system across the heat hierarchy could potentially help to ease the pressure on household energy bills, helping reduce fuel poverty, and see an increase in economic activity and jobs in heat related sectors. There are therefore potential benefits for transgender people or people of various sexual orientation, however these are difficult to predict given the lack of data that is available on heat use or fuel poverty for this group, or the number working in heat related sectors.

Race

Evidence from research and statistics

There are approximately 100,000 Black and Ethnic ( BME) people in Scotland, making up just over 2% of the population.

There is little information available on heat use or the level of fuel poverty for BME people in Scotland beyond the data available for the general population. The HPS will over time directly affect people of all races. We anticipate that people who are “fuel poor” or who benefit from the increased activity in heat related sectors will experience positive impacts from the policies included in HPS.

Effects / Impacts

Decarbonising the heat system across the heat hierarchy could potentially help to ease the pressure on household energy bills, helping reduce fuel poverty and lead to an increase in economic activity and jobs in heat related sectors. There are therefore potential benefits for Black and Ethnic Minority people; however these are difficult to predict given the lack of data that is available on heat use or fuel poverty for this group, or the number working in heat related sectors.

Religion and belief

Evidence from research and statistics

In Scotland, 67% of the population reports having a religion: 65% report being Christian, 0.84 as being Muslim. Minority groups (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh) account for less than 3% of the overall population and tend to be concentrated in the conurbations of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

There is little information available on heat use or the level of fuel poverty for people of different religions beyond the data available for the general population.

Effects / Impacts

Decarbonising the heat system across the heat hierarchy could potentially help to ease the pressure on household energy bills, helping reduce fuel poverty and lead to an increase in economic activity and jobs in heat related sectors. There are therefore potential benefits for people of all religious beliefs and there is nothing in the proposed policy that would specifically impact on a person because of their faith.

Other Impacts

Other positive impacts include the following:-

  • The HPS supports improvements in the energy efficiency of homes and therefore positively impact on identified equality groups.
  • Efficient heat supply and increased use of low carbon and renewable heat could potentially lead to reduced household energy bills, helping to reduce fuel poverty; especially for older people and people with disabilities; in addition families headed by women and those on low incomes with infants and young children may experience positive benefits.
  • The measures will help secure Scotland’s future heat supply by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, the prices of which have increased significantly over recent years.
  • The HPS supports Scotland’s transition to a Low Carbon Economy, providing an opportunity to secure investment and sustain jobs in heat related sectors such as the construction sector which delivers energy efficiency improvements, geothermal, heat pumps and district heating.
  • Decarbonisation of heat will make a significant contribution to achieving the Scottish Government target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

How the Equality Analysis has Informed and Helped to Shape the Policy

The equality evidence as outlined above has highlighted a few areas which were considered when developing policies in the HPS. No further evidence was identified by groups who share the relevant protected characteristics which required further consideration, beyond that given to generic fuel poverty issues in the document.

Risks and monitoring

We monitor greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, energy consumption and heat delivered from renewable sources and report on these annually.

Authorisation of Equality Impact Assessment

Authorisation of Equality Impact Assessment


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