Scottish housing associations fear UK ECO funding cuts will axe energy-efficiency measures

Energy efficiency

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the latest figures showing that more than 58,000 energy efficiency measures were installed in homes throughout Scotland during 2013.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) requires energy companies to install a range of energy efficiency measures to assist in tackling fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

The latest quarterly statistics published by the UK Department of Energy (DECC) show that Scotland outperformed the rest of Great Britain on the delivery of energy efficiency measures – such as loft and wall insulation and new boilers.

Between January to December 2013, 58,058 energy efficiency measures were delivered in Scotland. This is above the British average for delivery of Energy Company Obligations (ECO) initiatives with 24.5 measures being delivered in Scotland for every 1000 households compared to the British average of 20.5.

But the federation is ‘greatly concerned’ that proposed cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will negatively affect the future funding of energy efficiency measures.

David Stewart, SFHA Policy Manager, said: “We welcome the positive news that so many energy efficiency measures have been installed in Scotland, funded by ECO and the Scottish Government Home Energy Scotland programme.

“However, while housing associations have the most energy-efficient homes in Scotland  sharply rising energy prices mean that investment in energy efficiency measures is vital to keep homes warm and affordable.

“We are concerned that the proposals to cut ECO – which would see the UK Government relaxing the commitment that at present ensures companies deliver energy-efficiency measures to domestic energy users – will stall the positive progress in investment. We already know of a number of schemes which have been scrapped as a result of the proposed changes. 

“With energy prices forecast to rise for the foreseeable future, now is not the time to reduce funding for home energy efficiency.

We therefore call on the UK Government to maintain ECO funding and for the Scottish Government to use European Union funds to invest in energy efficiency.”

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Thousands of homes across Scotland, have become warmer and cheaper to heat thanks to the Scottish Government’s support for delivery of energy efficiency schemes.  This includes more than 12,000 measures in the Glasgow City area.

“Through HEEPS, local council led, area-based schemes are being supported across the whole of Scotland which will enable local councils to leverage ECO investment.

“In total, the Scottish Government will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

“Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this government. While we have managed to help thousands of households in Scotland to have warmer, more energy efficient homes, with independence we would be able to change the way energy efficiency is funded to help even more people.”

 

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