SCOTTISH Land & Estates, which represents over 2500 landowners across Scotland, has today (Monday 1 October) responded to two major Scottish Government consultations on energy efficiency.
Key to the responses has been the call for a properly researched national communications plan from the government around energy efficiency which is given significant funding and support. The purpose of the plan should be to create positive attitudes amongst the 2.43 millions householders in Scotland, including tenants and owners, towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures. Scottish Land & Estates’ Head of Policy, Sarah-Jane Laing explained:
“The commitment to changing ‘hearts and minds’ should be central to the Scottish Government’s approach if energy efficiency targets are to be met.
“We have put it to the Government that they should factor in enough time for people’s perceptions to change and be flexible in their approach in order to encourage a variety of solutions to develop including innovative products and systems, and alternative methods of delivering change”.
The estimated value of the private housing stock in Scotland in 2011 was £263 billion, and we are calling for a careful approach to the development of a low carbon society in Scotland which does not depress house prices or restrict housing supply. We feel that there is a need for greater involvement of property market experts and housing market economists to independently check costs and any mechanisms that are proposed by the Scottish Government. We were very fortunate to have a very knowledgeable member subgroup, led by Michael Bruce of Glen Tanar Estate, working on our responses. This ensured that we were able to provide real examples and concrete financial information on the potential impact of the proposals.”
Mrs Laing continued:
“Scotland, and especially rural Scotland, is at the forefront of innovation in the low carbon economy. Rapid increases are being seen in renewable energy generation capacity, and because rural areas are off the gas grid, also in renewable heating solutions.
“However Scotland’s rural homes suffer from a number of technical weaknesses in relation to energy efficiency such as higher exposure levels and a high proportion of traditional buildings. A ‘rural weighting’ in any new regulations relating to energy efficiency is therefore needed.
“Finally, a major investment into the energy performance certificate methodology is required to increase visibility, transparency, accuracy, relevance and speed of incorporating innovations and new products into the system. This will help change the reality of our understanding of the energy efficiency of housing stock for the better and ensure that the system is fit for purpose”.