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Housing / Improved government funding for climate-friendly heating in social housing

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie also visits districts heating company while in Shetland

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie (third from left) with Hjaltland Housing's new chair Colin Nicolson (Left), the organisation's asset manager Paul Leak and the board's new vice chair Karen Eunson. Photo: Dave Donaldson for Shetland News

MINISTER for zero carbon buildings Patrick Harvie has been in the isles today (Tuesday) to announce improved funding for climate-friendly heating systems and energy efficiency measures installed by social landlords.

The changes include more money for schemes that come under the the social housing net zero heat fund.

Projects in remote areas will benefit from an 11 per cent uplift, while those in remote areas can get 22 per cent more funding.

The current intervention rate will also be increased from 50 to 60 per cent for the installation of zero emission heating solutions, meaning housing associations will benefit from a reduced match funding requirement.

Visiting Hjaltland Housing Association’s Grodians project in Lerwick, Harvie said: “We know that island and rural communities face different challenges when changing the way social homes are heated and insulated.

“I am very pleased to have been able to come to Shetland to hear about these challenges in person; the changes I’m announcing today reflect our commitment to supporting housing associations and local authorities here and in other similar areas.

“The social housing sector has been leading the way on energy efficiency in recent years and can make a vital contribution to achieving our ambitious climate change targets.

“We will be consulting shortly on proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill to make Scotland’s homes and buildings cleaner, greener and easier to heat.

“Social housing already has to meet separate standards, so we intend to consult on proposals for a revised version of that standard with the same aims at around the same time as the proposals for this bill.”

The social housing net zero heat fund was launched in August 2020 and it is designed to accelerate the delivery of energy efficiency measures and zero emission heating systems to existing homes in the socially rented sector. To date it has supported 54 projects with £56.7 million of support.

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While in Shetland, Harvie also visited SHEAP, the company which provides the district heating scheme in Lerwick.

Patrick Harvie visiting Shetland Heat Energy and Power (SHEAP) to discuss expansion plans with executive director Derek Leask. Photo: Brian Gray

Executive director Derek Leask said that as part of the meetings with the minister the new Staney Hill housing development by Hjaltland had been discussed – with SHEAP expressing its confidence to be able to connect all 300 homes to its network in due course.

Leask said: “Mr Harvie was knowledgeable on our technology, and we discussed the benefits of support we had received from Danish experts through the Scottish Government’s district heating mentoring programme.

“We’re keen to expand our network by hopefully connecting to the Staney Hill development and we have some very good projects in place to add to the energy sources we currently have.”

The minister added: “Heat networks have an important role to play in addressing climate change, helping to meet our target of ensuring that more than one million homes and the equivalent of 50,000 non-domestic buildings are connected to climate-friendly heating systems by 2030.

“There is clearly great potential here for implementing large-scale climate-friendly heating for this new development and I look forward to seeing how these proposals develop.”

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