Campaigners want Scottish Government to make same capital investment in energy efficiency as it does to big infrastructure projects
Scotland’s next big capital project should be an investment in making homes energy efficient, according to a coalition of charities.
With six months to go until the Queensferry Crossing is opened, campaigners the Existing Homes Alliance is calling for the forthcoming Spending Review to include significant investment in a National Infrastructure Priority for energy efficiency, with an overall goal for all housing to be warm and healthy by 2025.
Such a move, say campaigners, would help the 35% of households in Scotland currently in fuel poverty, save the NHS money and create new jobs.
Unlike other infrastructure projects, these jobs would be spread around every part of Scotland, creating and sustaining many small and medium sized businesses.
The alliance brings together conservation, environmental as well as health organisations.
Improving the condition of Scotland’s homes is a key component to the overall preventative healthcare agenda - Irene Johnstone
Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance said: “Construction of the Queensferry Crossing has been a major infrastructure investment project for the Scottish Government, and with 6 months to go to its completion, the time is now right for the Scottish Government to say that investment in ending the scourge of ‘cold homes’ will be its next big infrastructure project.
“It's well accepted that investment in infrastructure is good for the economy, but a major investment in energy efficiency will also help tackle fuel poverty, address health inequalities and reduce our climate change emissions.
“In addition, such a move would create up to 9,000 jobs, spread across all of Scotland, unlike other infrastructure projects. No other capital investment can make such a social and economic difference to every part of the country, making investment in ending ‘cold homes’ an infrastructure investment of truly national importance.”
Irene Johnstone, head of the British Lung Foundation in Scotland said the Scottish Government needs to increase its emphasis on preventing poor lung health and that cold, damp and mouldy homes cause illnesses,
“It therefore seems obvious that improving the condition of Scotland’s homes is a key component to the overall preventative healthcare agenda,” she said.
Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland added: “A recent independent Infrastructure Task Force identified energy efficiency as one of the three types of low-carbon infrastructure most in need of investment from the Scottish Government.
“A political commitment that no-one should live in a hard-to-heat, draughty home would be good for millions of households, and would drastically reduce emissions too.”