Kirsteen Paterson writes on The National website in Scotland about a recent survey that showed overwhelming support for ensuring homes are made more energy efficient as a means to address climate change concerns. While we hear much about renewable energy developments in Scotland, it is good to see the interest on the demand side as well.
Public calls for more energy efficient way to heat homes in WWF Scotland survey
Almost 80 per cent of the public want Holyrood to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient to beat climate change, it is claimed.
WWF Scotland claims the results of its survey, released today, show a “growing number of Scots want stronger action” on man-made damage to the environment.
This includes demands for more investment in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock, something supported by 76 per cent of those questioned — up from 67 per cent last year.
Meanwhile, 68 per cent of respondents said they want ministers to invest in projects that reduce harmful emissions, marking a nine per cent rise from 2016.
And 72 per cent want action to help people heat their homes from renewable sources — a 13 per cent jump.
And 71 per cent of those asked agreed electricity should be generated from Scotland’s renewable resources, up from 61 per cent one year ago.
The charity said such action would “create a healthier, more prosperous future for all”.
The results are published as the public gets the chance to have its say in the consultation for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill.
Sarah Beattie-Smith, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: “These survey results clearly show the need for strong climate action is an established priority for the people of Scotland.
“The forthcoming Climate Bill is a welcome opportunity to continue Scotland’s climate leadership and demonstrate the creative, imaginative, bold and radical policies that the First Minister has said will be set out in the next programme for government.
“We believe the forthcoming Climate Change Bill can help to create jobs, improve public health and reduce poverty at home, whilst also ensuring Scotland plays its part in helping the poorest people in the world cope with the effects of climate change.
“These survey results should give politicians of all parties the confidence to be ambitious and take the steps needed to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous society.”
WWF Scotland surveyed around 1,000 people for the report.
The Scottish Government has allocated £114 million in its 2017-18 budget for fuel poverty and domestic energy efficiency, an 11 per cent increase on the 2016-17 draft budget of £103m.
Fuel poverty has been designated as a national infrastructure priority and the country’s social housing providers have a legal obligation to improve the standards of their stock.
It is currently considering bringing in similar requirements for the burgeoning private rental sector, which covers almost 370,000 households.
Research published by Energy Action Scotland and National Energy Action earlier this year says health problems related to cold, damp homes, including breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes, claim 80 lives per day in the winter.
Ill health related to energy inefficient housing is thought to cost the UK taxpayer £1 billion a year.
The Scottish Government said it is “ambitious” about reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the public to engage with the new consultation and help shape legislation.
However, the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) campaign said the Climate Change Bill falls “far short” and has called for Holyrood to set a target of zero harmful emissions by 2050.
The body — a coalition of environment and faith groups and trade unions — says this should include major improvements in home energy efficiency, farming and transport.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland is already a world-leader in tackling climate change, with sustained progress against ambitious statutory targets and a commitment to maintain this position by bringing forward new legislation.
“Our proposals for a new Climate Change Bill, which includes increasing the ambition of the 2050 target in response to the international Paris Agreement, will strengthen Scotland’s place at the forefront of the transition to the low-carbon economy. We look forward to receiving views.”