Home Energy Scotland grant and loan scheme - second homes: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

1) I wish to know what instructions, regulations or legislation have been given by Scottish Government to Home Energy Scotland (managed by the Energy Saving Trust) regarding the awarding of grants funded by the Scottish Government to homes in Scotland they consider to be "second homes".

2) I wish to know what the Scottish Government's definition of a "second home" is in the context of any instructions, regulations or legislation given to the Energy Saving Trust.

3) Given that the work by the Scottish Government to date has suggested that 80% of second home owners may be aged 45 or over, there is clearly a strong likelihood that any policy, instructions, regulations or legislation will disadvantage older people unfairly. I wish to know the results of the full assessment that will have been undertaken before making any policy and issuing any instructions, regulations or legislation, as required by the Fairer Scotland Duty and EQIA ? If there was no full assessment, I wish to know the grounds for not doing this.

4) I wish to know whether Home Energy Scotland (managed by the Energy Saving Trust) are required by Scottish Government to publish their policy on "second homes” including their definition.


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.


1) Energy Saving Trust (EST) administer the HES Grant and Loan Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government. The terms and conditions for the scheme (also attached) state that the property “must either be your only or principal private residence” and “must not be used as a holiday home or second home”.

EST deliver the scheme as per these terms and conditions, which are set by the Scottish Government.

2) As per the above response, the terms and conditions state that second and holiday homes are not eligible for the HES Grant and Loan Scheme. The definition of a second home is not explicitly stated within the terms and conditions, however, is understood to be a home that is not the owner’s primary or sole residence.

The scheme requirements are not set out in legislation or regulations.

3) The HES Grant and Loan Scheme supports homeowners to decarbonise heat and reduce heat demand in their primary properties. These homeowners can access the scheme on an equal basis, as funds lasts. No eligibility criteria to access the scheme is based on age or any other protected characteristic.

The scheme sits within the Heat in Buildings Programme. The Heat in Buildings Strategy, which sets out the Scottish Government’s vision to decarbonising Scotland’s buildings, was published in October 2021. Alongside the strategy, an EQIA and Fairer Scotland Duty assessment were published.

More recently, the Heat in Buildings Bill Consultation was opened in November 2023. Alongside the consultation, an EQIA and Fairer Scotland Duty assessment were published. The consultation closes on 08 March 2024, more information, including on how to respond, can be found here.

4) HES is administered on behalf of the Scottish Government by EST. The Scottish Government sets policy, and therefore EST do not have a policy on second homes.

The scheme is delivered as per the terms and conditions set out by the Scottish Government.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI 202300391064 - Information Released - Terms and Conditions


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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