Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce minutes: 13 May 2021

Minutes of the Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce meeting held on13 May 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Aubrey Fawcett – Chief Executive, Inverclyde Council and SOLACE
  • Sally Thomas – CEO, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • David Bookbinder – Glasgow & West of Scotland Forum for Housing Associations (GWSF)
  • Michael Cameron – Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)
  • Mark McArthur – Energy Saving Trust (EST)
  • Craig Spence – Orkney HA
  • Bryan Leask - Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum
  • Paul Leask - Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum
  • Jon Turner – Link HA
  • Patrick McGrath – Southside HA
  • Chris Morgan – John Gilbert Architects
  • Casandra Dove – SFHA
  • Stephen Kemp – Orkney Builders
  • Sean Smith – Edinburgh University
  • Roddy Hamilton – Changeworks
  • Bruce Cuthbertson – Tenant Representation
  • Stacey Dingwall – SFHA
  • Colin Reid – Wheatley Group
  • Duncan Smith – Renfrewshire Council

SG Officials

  • James Hemphill – Heat in Building Regulation Unit
  • Craig Frew – Low carbon Support Unit
  • Ragne Low – Heat Strategy Unit

SG Secretariat

  • Catriona MacKean – Scottish Government
  • Simon Roberts – Scottish Government
  • Tony Cruickshank – Scottish Government


  • Laura Caven – Cosla
  • Tony Cain – ALACHO
  • Ross Anderson – ALACHO
  • Barbara Lantschner – John Gilbert Architects
  • Paul Thom – Changeworks

Items and actions

Actions from the previous group meeting and acceptance of previous meeting note

  • The actions form the previous group meeting of the 29 April were reviewed and the note of the meeting was agreed as a formal accurate record of the discussion.

Update from the Technical Sub-Group meeting and next steps

  • The Technical Sub-group chair provided an update of the outcomes from the meeting of the 10 May and that agreement on a fabric first approach was needed to reduce fuel consumption. It is considered that consumption can be reduced by up to 80% (flats 60%) but because of diminishing returns it would be better to aim at 60%. This would go a long way to reduce fuel poverty and provide a sustainable basis for innovative technology to get to net zero.
  • Agreement that the skill side needs addressed, as well as certification for qualified individuals, but there is concern of the cost involved affecting those in rural & island areas. The possibility of creating regional academies was discussed. The engagement with stakeholders such as SDS was highlighted.
  • Highlighted that upgrading tenements was more expensive due to decanting tenants for work to be undertaken. There is an opportunity to use this wider (21/22) to collect robust data to inform the development of archetype based guidance. Agreement that any data gathered on the current stock needs to come from an independent 3rd party such as universities or consultants to ensure no conflict of interest. Agreement that data should come from a single site to provide a clear picture.
  • Discussion on capital costs and that £1.9bn would be required by housing associations to bring housing up to an agreed standard. Discussion on the Scottish Government’s Net Zero Social Housing Fund of £100m, and highlighted issues with competition and timescales for applications. Suggested that 1-2% of the fund should help back for pilot schemes. The Scottish Government want the scheme to be seen as a positive offer and will seek feedback from the group to develop it.
  • The next meeting of the Technical Sub-group will seek to agree a range of principles which all members agree on.

Update on the Costs and Affordability Sub-Group

  • The Costs & Affordability Sub-group chair provided an update of the outcomes from the meeting of the 13 May and that the agreed that 2 framing questions in the ToR provided a clear direction on what the group’s aim was. Discussion on the difference between Capital and Revenue.
  • Highlighted the presentation given Changeworks and advised that the final report would circulated to the ZEST Group.
  • Discussion on rents and affordability as fuel poverty was a challenging situation to address. Discussion on the Scottish Government’s Eco Fund and the need to have side conversation’s to achieve maximisation of the fund.
  • Highlighted that the Scottish Government’s fuel poverty strategy to be published later this year.
  • Agreement that there is the need to look at funding and other financial sources. The need for further work to be undertaken to determine what the recommendations form the sub-group are and the possibility of the sub-group continuing in an advisory role.
  • Highlighting the challenge for housing associations of increasing costs while income remains static. Highlighted that not all housing associations have the financial capacity due to being asset rich, but cash poor. Highlighted that local authorities are able to borrow at preferred rates compared to housing associations.
  • Highlighted that Brexit has closed of borrowing from the European Investment Bank and that there is the need for something similar in the UK. Discussion on whether the Scottish National Investment Bank could offer a similar service.

Feedback on meetings re skills and training

  • The Technical Sub-group chair gave an update on the need for recognition of the requirement for training tradespersons and the sector. Highlighted the meetings with Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Funding Council, Highlighted that there was a role for the group to provide recommendations to the education sector and that there was a need to look sources of funding and setting up of academies. Highlighted the potential for economic growth and the creation of green jobs.

Mapping and interdependencies work

  • Update on the mapping work undertaken so far. The Scottish Climate Change Committee report to be added. Further work needed on funding. The exercise did not find that ZEST’s discussions were at odds with what other groups are proposing, Highlighted that there is the need to identify current up to date information as the work progresses. Discussion emphasised that landlords will need robust guidance on solutions for archetypes, and we cannot rely on generic proposals for change as a guide to investment.


  • Scottish Government to undertake further work on fuel poverty and present to ZEST Cost & Affordability Sub-group.
  • Scottish Government to undertake work on Scenario Planning
  • Additional Costs & Affordability meeting to be set-up
  • Mapping of funding and funding sources to be undertaken by the Scottish Government
  • Identification & creation of the Technical Sub-group principles to help develop the final report
  • Scottish Government to provide information on SNIB framework and possible access for funding
  • Identification of ZEST members for Task & Finish discussion work and outputs to help determine the content and recommendations.

Date of next meeting

27 May 2021 at 1.30pm to 2.30pm

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