SNP makes no green upgrades at official buildings

Solar heating panels have been installed at government offices at Saughton House in Edinburgh and Tweedbank in Galashiels
Solar heating panels have been installed at government offices at Saughton House in Edinburgh and Tweedbank in Galashiels
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SCOTTISH ministers were accused of having a “dismal” and “appalling” record on tackling climate change after it emerged the government had failed to make environmental improvements to its own buildings.

Ministers admitted no bid had been made to improve the energy performance certificates – which state the energy efficiency of a property – in any of the Scottish Government’s 79 building in the past three years.

The Scottish Government’s official website states it is “determined to play its part in tackling climate change”, with an “ambitious” target for a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

However, Holyrood figures showed only two of the 79 sites have renewable energy sources, with solar heating panels installed at the government offices at Saughton House in Edinburgh and Tweedbank in Galashiels.

Finance secretary John Swinney stated that the government was “committed to improving the environmental performance of its estate” but, in a response to a parliamentary question from Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur, confirmed that energy performance certificates for the 79 buildings had not been changed since December 2011, .

Scottish Government buildings that have not seen the green improvements for three years include the office of the First Minister at St Andrew’s House in Regent Road, Edinburgh, as well as the administration’s legal and parliamentary services base in the capital’s Chambers Street.

Mr McArthur said the findings showed that ministers had “barely made any green improvements to dozens of buildings it owns across the country” since shortly after the SNP was re-elected three years ago.

He said: “The SNP government’s eco credentials are in tatters. After repeated failure to meet its own climate change targets, these figures show that the SNP ministers have all but given up and gone home when it comes to tackling climate change. At least if they went home they would save energy.”

Scottish ministers have said that there are three renewable projects in the pipeline for 2015 to deliver environmental improvements to official buildings.

However, the independent MSP John Wilson called on ministers to do more to make public buildings environmentally friendly. He said: “This parliamentary answer clearly indicates that the Scottish Government has a long way to go to ensure its existing estate meets environmental standards.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “These figures are a big disappointment because making buildings more efficient can get you big carbon savings quickly and save you money. From your own homes to big companies, we should all be trying to make our buildings more efficient and the Scottish Government should have been leading the way.”

A Scottish Government spokes­woman said: “We remain committed to improving environmental performance across the Scottish Government estate through a range of energy-­efficiency measures.”