07 Mar 2024

CIH Scotland responds to key government consultations on net-zero

The Scottish Government has undertaken consultation on two key areas linked to the statutory target to meet net-zero by 2045. The Heat in Buildings Bill expected to be introduced later this year would set minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented and owner occupied homes, and require the majority of homes across all tenures to move to clean heating system like a heat pump, or connect to a heat network by 2045. Views were also sought on a new Social Housing Net Zero Standard (SHNZS) which would replace the current Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH2).

The Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy published in 2021 estimated that the total cost of decarbonising our homes and buildings could reach £33 billion, although this is will likely now be higher due to inflation. The SHNZS consultation document sets the cost to the social sector at £1.28 billion for energy efficiency measures and £4.6 billion for decarbonisation. So far, the Scottish Governmebt has committed £1.8 billion over the course of this parliamentary term.

Commenting on the consultations, Ashley Campbell policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland said:

“We believe that everyone should have the right to live in a good quality home that is affordable to heat, and we understand that the housing sector has a role to play in meeting net-zero standards set by the Scottish Government. We welcome the move towards alignment of standards across tenures – people should be able to expect the same standards no matter who their landlords is, if they are a home owner, or getting ready to buy their first home.

“However, we do have concerns about the costs of meeting the proposals. The Heat in Buildings Strategy estimated that decarbonising our homes and buildings will cost around £33 billion, and to date the Scottish Government has only committed £1.8 billion towards this over the course of this Parliamentary term.

“We also need to recognise that these proposals aren’t being put forward in isolation. The Scottish Government is preparing to update space and accessibility standards for social and private housing which will add costs to new developments, landlords face inflationary increases on maintenance and housing management services, and this is all coming during a cost of living crisis and housing emergency that will be exacerbated by the £200 million cut to the affordable housing supply budget.

“If we are to meet these challenging targets for energy efficiency and renewable heat without passing costs on to tenants and residents, we need urgent clarity from Scottish Government. They need to communicate new requirements to social landlords and the wider public as soon as possible, explaining what is required and the timescales involved. We need to see comprehensive advice and information and financial support for those who need it, and much greater focus on reducing the cost of electricity to ensure that renewable heat is an attractive and affordable option.”

Find out more about net-zero housing

This CIH member briefing includes information about key targets and milestones: