While the UK government has to date been reluctant to designate energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, the Scottish government is making the commitment. Scotland is to embark on a programme to help raise energy efficiency levels in both homes and non-domestic buildings over the next 15-20 years as part of a package of measures covering transport, environment and energy.
In the run up to the general election several bodies including the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) campaigned to have domestic energy efficiency made a UK-wide national infrastructure priority. UKGBC produced a report last year, A housing stock fit for the future: Making home energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, which had the support of more than 20 organisations. So far, however, the government has resisted such calls.
North of the border, however, the Scottish government is making its new energy efficiency programme the cornerstone of its national infrastructure priority. It will use new powers – due to be devolved in the Scotland Bill – to determine how supplier obligations relating to energy efficiency and fuel poverty can be better designed to suit Scottish circumstances, as well as leveraging private sector investment.
Scottish Parliament climate change minister Aileen McLeod said, “The Scottish government has already increased investment in domestic energy efficiency – from £99m last year to £119m this year. And since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds on fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes.
“But we must do more to meet Scotland’s world-leading and ambitious climate change targets. That is why I am today announcing that improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s buildings will be designated a national infrastructure priority.”
McLeod also said a final heat policy statement will be published imminently setting out the Scottish government’s approach to decarbonisation of heat and a framework for investment in the heat sector to 2050.