Scottish Heat in Buildings Strategy

The Scottish Government published its own Heat in Buildings Strategy on 8 October, just ahead of the UK version. The Strategy builds on a consultation held earlier this year, setting out how it will achieve its net zero decarbonisation target over the next 24 years.

As in the BEIS version, the Scottish strategy aims to rapidly scale up deployment of heat pumps so that by 2030, over one million of Scotland’s 2.5m homes and the equivalent of 50,000 non-domestic buildings are converted to ‘zero emissions’ heat. The concept of zero emissions at point of use remains a controversial and misleading element of the Scottish Government’s strategy because it ignores the upstream emissions that may be caused by power generation.

Targeting energy efficiency is also a priority. However, while 45% of Scottish homes now achieve EPC C or better, off-grid rural homes lag well-behind this average. Until this is addressed – if it can be – the strategy’s aim that “the vast majority of the 170,000 off-gas homes that currently use high emissions oil, LPG, and solid fuels, as well as at least one million homes currently using mains gas, should convert to zero emissions heating by 2030” may be difficult to achieve in practice.

To drive the transition in existing buildings, the Scottish Government intends to introduce regulations via an All-Tenure Zero Emissions Heat Standard. This will require the installation of zero or very near zero emissions heating systems in existing buildings, in both the domestic and non-domestic sectors. This legislation will support their commitment to phasing out the need to install new or replacement fossil fuel boilers in off gas properties from 2025, and in on-gas areas from 2030. A consultation on these regulations will take place in 2022.

There is acceptance that many households will require support to make the transition and over the current Parliament £1.8 billion is being made available for heat and energy efficiency projects. Pragmatically, the strategy identifies a role for biofuels, including bio heating oil, within heat which meet its definition of a “low emissions fuel”. An internal Bioenergy Working Group is being set up and a bioenergy strategy is promised in 2023.

While the Scottish Government has some scope to act, it is worth noting that many of its plans are subject to technical developments and/or require legislation changes at a UK level in reserved areas over which they do not have powers.

It’s time to make your voice heard!

With the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategies in the UK, and in Scotland, we now know how the Government plans to tackle the decarbonisation of our industry. Whether you agree or disagree with their proposals, the consultation process means you have a chance to make your voice heard and influence the final decision. And not just your voice. By talking to other people in the industry and informing your customers, you can encourage other people to get involved too.

The more people who respond, the more difficult it will be for the Government to ignore their views. The proposed changes will fundamentally change the off-grid heating sector over the next 10 years. But is the Government making the right choices?

We think consumers need cost-effective options and a range of flexible choices to cover all the likely eventualities. That means supporting low carbon liquid fuels alongside other options such as heat pumps. If you agree, take advantage of this opportunity to have your say and spread the word!

What you should do:
• Read the articles on pages 6, 8 and 15.
• Download a copy of the Heat and Buildings Strategy
• Visit the Future Ready Fuel website and distribute information to your customers.