A Labour government at Holyrood would usher in a “green housing revolution,” the party has promised.
Scottish leader Iain Gray outlined plans to have thousands of properties producing their own renewable energy if the party wins the election in May.
He promised an initial target for 10,000 more homes in the next four years, with an ambition to make household and community renewables the standard by 2020. Mr Gray said the plan would reduce domestic fuel bills and create 300 jobs and 750 traineeships.
During a visit to the Dunedin Canmore Housing Association regeneration project in Edinburgh, he said, “As well as cutting carbon emissions, insulating our homes will help us to eradicate fuel poverty.
“Nobody in Scotland should be forced to choose between heating their home properly and putting food on the table. My ambition is to have more homes producing renewable energy than anywhere else in the UK.
“Labour’s leadership in the early days of the parliament meant that Scotland has led the way in the development of large-scale renewables we now need to make sure that householders benefit from the opportunities that new technologies will bring.
“I want Scotland to lead the way in a green housing revolution that will set a shining example to the rest of the country.”
The plan would see funding released through councils across Scotland to insulate thousands more homes and fit them with solar panels or other renewable energy technology.Energy ScotlandThe policy would be paid for with cash from the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariffs scheme, which makes energy suppliers give regular payments to householders and communities that generate their own electricity from renewable or low-energy sources. A new government agency, Energy Scotland, would be set up to take forward the plan.
Environment group WWF Scotland described the proposals as a “welcome start.”
“But to secure an energy efficiency revolution, we need a street-by-street, house-by-house approach across Scotland,” added spokesman Dr Dan Barlow. “We also urge all political parties to commit to set a minimum energy efficiency standard to lift the quality in private housing.”
“If initiatives to improve insulation and harness the potential to develop small-scale renewable electricity and heat projects can be developed on a large scale then they will create much-needed employment and training opportunities,” said chief executive Mary Taylor.
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations chief executive Mary Taylor said, “We believe that while the challenges of climate change and fuel poverty are daunting, they also represent a significant opportunity.
“If initiatives to improve insulation and harness the potential to develop small-scale renewable electricity and heat projects can be developed on a large scale then they will create much-needed employment and training opportunities.”
But SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville attacked Labour’s record on housing.
“Their constant demands for housing without the money or policy to back it up are simply unsustainable,” she said. “As the last four years have shown the SNP has a strong track record of meeting Scotland’s housing needs and, with our commitment to further council house building and new ways of funding to get past the problem of UK cuts, we have a clear plan for the next four years to see our housing stock increased and improved.”