Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce minutes: 24 June 2021

Minutes of the Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce meeting on 24 June 2021

Attendees and apologies


  • Aubrey Fawcett – Chief Executive, Inverclyde Council and SOLACE
  • Sally Thomas – CEO, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Michael Cameron – Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)
  • Mark McArthur – Energy Saving Trust (EST)
  • 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
  • Casandra Dove – SFHA
  • Stephen Kemp – Orkney Builders
  • Sean Smith – Edinburgh University
  • Roddy Hamilton – Changeworks
  • Stacey Dingwall – SFHA
  • Laura Caven – Cosla
  • Tony Cain – ALACHO
  • David Bookbinder – Glasgow & West of Scotland Forum for Housing Associations (GWSF)
  • Paul Thom – Changeworks
  • Bruce Cuthbertson – Tenant Representation
  • Susan Campbell – SNIB
  • Charlotte Stephenson – SNIB
  • Ross Anderson – ALACHO

SG Officials

  • Ragne Low – Consumers and Low Carbon

SG Secretariat

  • Catriona MacKean – Scottish Government
  • Naeem Bhatti - Scottish Government
  • Simon Roberts – Scottish Government
  • Tony Cruickshank – Scottish Government
  • Josh Kumar - Scottish Government


  • Barbara Lantschner – John Gilbert Architects
  • Chris Morgan – John Gilbert Architects
  • Karen Stevenson – RIAS
  • Chris Stewart – Collective Architecture
  • Duncan Smith – Renfrewshire Council
  • Craig Spence – Orkney HA
  • Colin Reid – Wheatley Group

Items and actions

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

The note of the 10 June meeting was agreed and accepted as true record of discussion.

Introduction from Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB)

  • Colleagues from SNIB provided an introduction to the group around what the bank does and how it can help achieve the targets of ZEST.
  • Noted that SNIB invest in ‘missions’ or challenges in Scotland such as achieving net zero emissions and the Scottish Ministers have committed £2 billion over 10 years to help achieve these.
  • SNIB view their investment as having a positive impact on Scotland to help create jobs and improve the quality of people’s lives. Provided an example of investment in Mid-Market Rental housing.  SNIB colleagues highlighted that investment is not solely about housing, but place-making.
  • There are already two missions set by SNIB which will be of interest to ZEST; a Net Zero Mission which aims to achieve a Just Transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2045 and a Place Mission which aims to extend equality of opportunity through improving places by 2040.
  • SNIB colleagues offered to speak to ZEST members/social landlords.
  • SNIB colleagues stated that they have committed to giving consideration to loan funding in areas where commercial banks were not prepared to take on the risk.

Final Report

  • Noted Final Report will be sent to Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport as well as Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government.
  • Members reviewed the draft final report and made the following comments:

Background and Context

  • Text to emphasise the need to be working and engaging tenants and a clearer definition of what is meant by a Just Transition.
  • Noted wording should be changed to social landlords rather than RSLs.
  • The need for an emphasis on the strategic pathway was highlighted
  • Reducing Demand for Heat section was queried and although the points raised are good, are they relevant.
  • The issue of changes to infrastructure to deal with the proposed recommendations.


  • Section on National Leadership and Locally Empowered Delivery to be reworded.
  • Noted there is a manifesto commitment from the SNP to decarbonise heat and it may be helpful to include this.
  • Identification that national government has significant role and the need to work together.
  • Recognition of the different roles of different institutions

Challenges and Recommendations

Recommendation 1

  • Supporting just transition and how to achieve it
  • The issue of bidding for funding to be on an ongoing basis rather than closed intervals.   
  • Noted the timescales should be more realistic around costing as well as an addition on long term finance commitments.
  • Resource funding for technologies should be included in the recommendation, rather than solely capital funding.

Recommendation 2

  • First paragraph should be redrafted, to read as social landlords rather than RSLs and to be more positive around delivery.

Recommendation 3

  • An addition to be included covering the risks of new technologies and ensuring affordability whilst being clear of the unknowns .
  • Bringing forward the review of EESSH.
  • The need to align the targets for both EESSH & Net Zero.

Recommendation 4

  • Include the diagram from Sean Smith’s presentation.
  • Consistent approach required for stock condition survey and useful for a national baseline and central depository.
  • Scottish Government co-ordination and support role

Recommendation 5

  • The need for Fabric First to be higher in the list of recommendations to ensure it is seen as a priority. Useful to also have further actions included in this recommendation.

Recommendation 6

  • No further amendments to recommendation.

Recommendation 7

  • More detailed information on the qualification processes required.

Recommendation 8

  • Potential unintended consequences to be added.
  • The link between public health and housing to be included as the impact on improving housing stock will affect people’s lives.
  • Requirement for the Scottish Government to work with social housing providers to reflect obligations.
  • More detailed information on place and the existing stock and the wider impact.
  • Consideration of the impact of public housing and commitment of engaging with tenants.
  • Need to be clear in report of what’s not been covered and what’s still to be done.

Next Steps

  • All comments from meeting to be collated and will form a new draft of the Final Report which members will be sent for final comments.
  • Submission of the report to Scottish Ministers is aimed for end of July. .
  • The continuation of the technical aspect of the ZEST group still has to be decided and members will be made aware once decisions are made.
  • Co-chairs thanked members for their work as part of the ZEST group.
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