Fuel poverty strategy for Scotland: consultation

The consultation seeks views on proposals to tackle and diminish fuel poverty in Scotland.

Section 3: Recognising the distinctiveness of all our communities

We recognise that addressing fuel poverty in our island communities presents a different set of issues to many other parts of Scotland. Whilst Scotland's inhabited islands are diverse, they share particular challenges. Many people in rural and remote areas of Scotland can often struggle to heat their homes because their properties tend to be more exposed to wind and weather and can be more expensive to heat as the majority are not connected to mains gas supplies and households are reliant on electricity and unregulated fuel types to heat their homes. We believe it is unacceptable for people to face these fuel poverty challenges just because of where they live, and we asked the RFPTF to look specifically at these issues and to recommend how best to address them.

However, there are also island-specific opportunities, including a more readily identifiable community, strong local relationships extending to a tradition of self-sufficiency in many places, and a resource-rich, high quality environment that supports good quality of life.

A refreshed fuel poverty strategy should respond to the unique circumstances of all our communities and this principle underpins many of the wider proposals set out here. For example, we want to maintain and build upon the flexibility within our delivery programmes to ensure they meet the needs of those communities. Through our HEEPS: Area-Based Schemes we already distribute funding based on an assessment of need, which means that remote areas, including all island communities, receive more per head of population to tackle fuel poverty than those on the mainland. In addition, our HEEPS: Warmer Homes Scotland ( WHS) scheme is being delivered on a regional basis, including a separate Islands region, to ensure that all households, including those living in more remote parts of the country, get the same level of service as those in urban areas.

This is already helping to address some of the issues remote and rural communities can face, such as additional costs and time taken to assess properties and install energy efficiency measures.

We also know that small businesses often find it challenging to adapt to changes to Government schemes where additional training and certification is necessary.

Through the development of SEEP we will provide the opportunities to develop the supply chain for energy efficiency services and technologies. It is critical that the supply chain keeps up with demand, and our commitment to building capacity in this sector will help to create more highly-skilled and better paid jobs in our local communities, as well as help to provide better quality goods and services.

As SEEP develops we continue to work with the six local authorities who are represented on the Islands Strategic Group, to ensure any proposals for change are sufficiently flexible to respond to their unique but varied local circumstances. We will also look at opportunities for innovation, including using digital technology to overcome travel and distance barriers.

The Scottish Government is also actively reviewing the recommendations of the RFPTF in the development of SEEP and will ensure these are factored into the emerging policy where appropriate.


3) In relation to island communities, are there any additional

a. challenges ; and / or

b. opportunities

that we need to consider in developing our strategy?

4) In relation to rural and remote rural communities, are there any additional

a. challenges ; and / or

b. opportunities

that we need to consider in developing our strategy?


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