Emissions from Scotland’s buildings have already reduced by around 20% (on 1990 levels), however the hardest part of the journey is still ahead - to translate Scotland’s targets and leadership into delivery.
We must reduce the emissions from our buildings, and yet the cost of living crisis and high energy costs continue to present a challenge to people across Scotland. Switching to clean heating systems will, however, make us less dependent on volatile and increasingly expensive fossil fuels.
I am pleased to publish this report describing our progress against the Heat in Buildings Strategy during the past year. Highlights include launching our new Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan scheme, the next Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, and our Green Innovation Support Programme (following the publication of our Supply Chains Delivery Plan).
We provided £170 million of funding through our schemes during the last financial year (2022-23), helping over 138,000 households through the Home Energy Scotland advice service, made over 8,000 fuel poor households warmer and easier to heat, and installed over 5,100 zero direct emissions heating systems in homes.
We have also made tremendous progress with our New Build Heat Standard. These regulations will make sure that, as of next April, all new buildings seeking a building warrant will need to install zero direct emissions heating systems.
The Heat in Buildings Bill, which we are committed to deliver during this session of Parliament, remains our priority over the coming year. We will consult on the proposals which will shape that Bill very soon and describe the regulatory framework that will drive the development of heat networks, the adoption of zero emission heating systems and improved standards of energy efficiency.
However, the UK Government still fails to match Scotland’s ambition. Its recent decisions to roll back on existing net zero commitments represent a betrayal of current and future generations, and present serious implications for Scotland’s climate ambitions. The UK Government must urgently publish its proposals for rebalancing gas and electricity prices, make progress on a clean heat market mechanism (including requirements on suppliers to install zero emissions heating), and bring forward its decision on the future of the gas grid.
Delivering these will have enormous positive impacts in Scotland as well as in the rest of the UK. However, we cannot afford to wait – Scotland must continue to lead the way, and to do everything that we can within our existing powers.
There is so much more to come in the year ahead. We will use the responses and views from our forthcoming consultation to develop a draft Heat in Buildings Bill that can be laid before the Parliament. This will represent a major milestone on the journey to transforming the ways in which we heat our homes and buildings in Scotland.
I remain determined to support the people of Scotland through the heat transition, liberating people from fossil fuel price insecurity, leading to warm and healthy homes and buildings, while tackling fuel poverty and climate breakdown.
Patrick Harvie MSP
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights
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