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Written by Kirsten Walker Friday, 28 September 2012 15:28
In its response to two major Scottish Government energy efficiency consultations, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said today (Friday 28th September) that it accepts and shares the aim to improve energy efficiency and cut fuel poverty, but now is asking for its members to be given the tools and the funds to achieve these goals.
The Sustainable Housing Strategy is a wide reaching consultation on improving the energy efficiency of Scotland's housing and covers new build homes, existing homes and all tenures of housing. The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing proposes minimum energy efficiency standards for 2020 to succeed the SHQS and only covers social housing. The SFHA consulted widely with its members and partners before submitting its responses, including a one day seminar and several focus groups held across the country.
SFHA Policy Manager David Stewart said:
"The SFHA and its members accept the need to improve the energy efficiency of Scotland's homes as fuel poverty has risen to an estimated 40% (1).
"While housing associations and co-operatives have the most energy efficient housing in Scotland (2), there will be significant costs in meeting the proposed energy standards. These come at a time when RSLs face significant challenges with cuts to income through housing benefit and reduced grant levels for new build affordable rented housing.
"The standards will be particularly challenging and expensive to meet for some properties, including traditional stone tenements and homes that are off the mains gas network. The minimum standards only currently cover social rented homes - this means that it will be difficult for social landlords to improve properties in mixed tenure stairs if owners won't take part in schemes."
Mr Stewart continued:
"The SFHA is asking for funding to help support the required improvements from the Scottish Government's National Retrofit Programme, which is currently aimed at the private sector, and through the European Regional Development Fund, which the Scottish Government will distribute, and a percentage of which can be ring fenced for improving energy efficiency in social housing.
"The SFHA is also calling for minimum standards for all housing which will cut fuel poverty and carbon emissions, and allow housing associations and co-operatives to improve homes in mixed tenure stairs and estates. In addition there also needs to be further investigation into what it will cost landlords to meet the proposed standards, and how it will be funded, before a final standard is set."
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