1. An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) is a systematic and evidence based approach for identifying and removing any barriers arising from a policy, procedure, or practice that has the potential to cause discrimination against a protected characteristic, as specified by the Equality Act 2010.
2. This EqIA is for the Heat in Buildings Strategy published on 7 October 2021.
3. A framing exercise was carried out by the Scottish Government which raised a number of points:
- The Strategy could impact on a high percentage of Scotland's population, especially older people, disabled people or those with a long term health condition where it is suggested that these groups may spend more prolonged periods at home and have a higher likelihood of experiencing fuel poverty.
- Heat decarbonisation can bring benefits to households and businesses, but communications in relation to the Strategy must be accessible to ensure that all can understand the objectives. A wide variety of communication mediums should be used to engage groups of different ages and income, some of whom may not be familiar with the internet or have limited access.
- Low and zero emissions heating systems bring new technology. Their roll out must be done in such a way that it makes it accessible to all, particularly those who have low technical literacy, or those for whom English is not their first language.
- Retrofitting heat systems can cause disruption which may have a higher impact on older householders, those with disabilities or those that are expecting or have young children. This means that these types of households may require additional support throughout the process.
- There may be challenges around improving energy efficiency and ventilation in Gypsy/Traveller accommodation.
4. The actions from the Strategy will provide multiple benefits to all people living in Scotland by:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions thus helping to meet our climate change targets
- Making our homes and buildings warmer and more comfortable
- Reducing our demand for heat and removing poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty
- Introducing systems which are smart and provide a reliable source of heat
- Creating a secure supply chain with high value local sustainable jobs across Scotland and helping people to transition to new, secure jobs as part of a just transition
- Providing cleaner air in outdoor and indoor spaces
5. The impact of the Strategy on the protected characteristics has been considered as a result of the assessment. A number of mitigations are outlined.
6. As the Strategy's actions are progressed, the Scottish Government will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including organisations that work with or represent EqIA groups to support the delivery and implementation of each policy area and in ongoing consideration of equalities impacts.
7. We are currently in the process of developing a governance structure for the implementation of the Heat in Buildings Strategy which will include an annual review. As part of this process, we will commit to ensuring that a diverse range of organisations are involved as key stakeholders and this will include those that represent equality groups.