Heat in buildings strategy: equality impact assessment

Summary document setting out the results of the full Equality impact assessment (EQIA) which has been carried out for the Heat in Buildings strategy.

Recommendations and Conclusion


Access to advice and support

44. Scottish Government Heat in Buildings Delivery Programmes such as Warmer Homes Scotland, Area Based Schemes, Home Energy Scotland Loans, and CARES provide advice and support to communities and those that fall under protected characteristics.

45. We will ensure that the remit of the forthcoming Green Heat Finance Taskforce will consider challenges experienced by those with protected characteristics.

46. Home Energy Scotland (HES) provides free, impartial advice including specialist bespoke advice on home renewables. HES is also the gateway to loans and grants programmes from Scottish Government for energy efficiency improvements and zero emissions heating in homes in Scotland, for example the HES loan which covers up to 100% of the cost of measures and offers cashback of up to 45% on energy efficiency measures and 75% for renewables measures.

47. Area Based Schemes provide funding to local authorities to develop and deliver energy efficiency programmes in areas with high levels of fuel poverty.

48. Our new CARES programme will support communities to work together to address and champion heat decarbonisation on a local level. Through CARES we will work to understand further the models and solutions most appropriate for communities in Scotland.

Potential for increased costs

49. The Scottish Government will kick start this transition with at least £1.8 billion of capital investment over the next five years. We will target our funding to support the most vulnerable and to strike the right balance to ensure fairness, particularly between those who make the transition early (and so potentially face higher lifetime costs) and those who, because, for example, infrastructure is not available, transition much later. To do this we will target our interventions through our delivery programmes so that they do not have a detrimental effect on fuel poverty and will build in additional support where required to ensure people can continue to enjoy warm homes that are affordable to heat.

50. We will build on the actions already set out in our draft Fuel Poverty Strategy with the publication of a final Fuel Poverty Strategy by the end of 2021 setting out how we will eradicate fuel poverty, including action across all four drivers – low household income, high energy prices, poor energy efficiency, and how energy is used in the home.

51. We have published in the Strategy a set of guiding principles to underpin our commitment that no one is left behind in the heat transition, ensuring we only take forward actions where they are found to have no detrimental impact on fuel poverty rates, unless additional mitigating measures can also be put in place.

Improving thermal comfort

52. High standards of energy efficiency are essential to reduce the overall demand for energy. Alongside energy saving behaviours these measures can help to ensure running costs remain affordable. We will continue to take a fabric first approach as it underpins the successful roll out of low and zero emissions heating, as well as being an important aspect of tackling fuel poverty.

53. Homes with higher levels of energy efficiency tend to have lower rates of fuel poverty. As set out in the 2018 Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map we believe that homes with households in fuel poverty should reach higher levels of energy efficiency. We want to see homes with fuel poor households improved so they reach an energy efficiency rating equivalent to EPC C by 2030 and equivalent to EPC B by 2040.

54. Over the next five years, we will invest at least £465 million to support those in fuel poverty in the heat transition and to help remove poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty. We will continue to deliver energy efficiency investment to support fuel poor households to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat and to reduce the impact of any potentially increased running costs from zero emissions systems. We will seek to improve targeting so that we can reach more households in fuel poverty.

Promoting employment opportunities

55. We will work with Scottish Renewables and Skills Development Scotland to undertake a Heat in Buildings Workforce Assessment project to build an evidence base in support of the wider skill requirements and opportunities in the heat in buildings transition including the timings of when skills are required, how best to support the transition opportunity from other industries, support training and the provision of local jobs across Scotland, as well as the development of apprenticeships in this area. This will consider challenges experienced by those with protected characteristics.

56. The development of a Heat in Buildings Supply Chain Delivery Plan by Summer 2022, which will focus on strengthening the broad supply chains needed to deliver energy efficiency and zero emissions heat in buildings at the pace and scale we need. Part of this work will consider the skills and training opportunities for young people.


57. We will continue ongoing stakeholder engagement, including representation for consumers that has a regard for protected characteristics, through our revised governance framework.

58. We will ensure that challenges and opportunities in different communities across Scotland are recognised through the development of our Public Engagement Strategy for Heat in Buildings. The forthcoming National Public Energy Agency will provide leadership and coordination to deliver on our heat decarbonisation targets, which will include public engagement across Scotland to ensure that people are aware of and understand the changes that are necessary, and can access the right support at the right time to meet their needs. The Public Engagement Strategy will provide the framework to guide how the Agency can best achieve this in practice. Further details will be set out in due course.

59. Further, the CARES Equalities Charter sets out aims to:

  • Regularly engage with groups representatives of minorities and vulnerable and disengaged to consider how CARES may continuously improve its Equalities charter and work better to support these groups;
  • Increase the take-up of CARES services from ethnic minority groups;
  • Increase the take up of CARES service from vulnerable and disengaged groups;
  • Promote CARES to up to 20 individual ethnic minority groups/organisations per annum;
  • Promote CARES to up to 20 vulnerable and disengaged groups per annum.

60. Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) will provide a long-term framework for taking an area-based approach to planning and delivery of the heat transition, including through zoning linked to regulation. LHEES will also form a basis for local public engagement and will be in place for all local authority areas by the end of 2023. We will ensure the planning system enables and encourages the deployment of low and zero emissions heating, including the networks they require.

Cultural and religious use of open flames for cooking

61. Many buildings use the same fuel for heating and cooking, particularly natural gas. When buildings switch away from using fossil fuel boilers, decisions on cooking appliances may also need to be made. As we accelerate deployment of strategic heating technologies, we will ensure our programmes support households and non-domestic building users to also transition to new cooking appliances, where appropriate.

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

62. The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) – requires relevant organisations to:

(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010;
(b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
(c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

63. The National Public Energy Agency will be given a role to further ensure users can easily access the support and advice they require. To ensure that we take an inclusive approach, we will identify and support disengaged and vulnerable groups, ensuring that support is available to all of society. We will give due regard to equalities, and will not unfairly discriminate based on any protected characteristics.

Describing how Equality Impact analysis has shaped the policy making process

64. The EqIA has been valuable in raising the overall awareness and understanding of the key issues affecting people with protected characteristics. We have taken a high level approach to the EqIA that accompanies the Strategy, highlighting critical issues that we will elaborate on as policy develops.

65. As the Strategy's actions are progressed, resulting in the development and roll out of individual heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency programmes and regulations, we will utilise and build on this existing evidence base to develop, where needed and appropriate, more specific impact assessments.

Monitoring and Review

66. The impact of the Strategy on the protected characteristics has been considered as a result of the assessment. 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.

67. 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 of the impacts from Strategy work streams. 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.


Email: heatinbuildings@gov.scot

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