Leader comment: Time to seize chance for energy efficiency

Energy efficiency policies could create up to 9,000 jobs a year, claim business leaders.
Energy efficiency policies could create up to 9,000 jobs a year, claim business leaders.
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As forecasters predict unseasonably warm temperatures over the coming days, thoughts will inevitably turn to the environment.

There are many strategies Scotland is pursuing already to improve its green credentials, yet there is no room for complacency here.

We learn today that more than 20 business leaders have written to the economy secretary Keith Brown calling for “a clear direction of travel” on energy efficiency, with an increased spend to £190 million in next year’s budget.

The letter also calls for a national target on the amount of heat generated from renewable energy sources.

Not only would this tackle fuel poverty, it would also create up to 9,000 jobs a year and create confidence in the sector, according to the business men and women.

This sort of initiative is exactly what the Scottish Government should be aiming for, because it succeeds on two fronts.

Scotland has already delivered a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, placing it way ahead of its 2020 target, so there is much to be proud of.

But our leaders must be doing everything possible to make sure Scotland climbs even further up the league tables for reducing its carbon footprint and improving green energy use. There is also a moral imperative to the reduce shocking levels of fuel poverty.

We have witnessed pursuit of contradictory policies, such as reducing air passenger duty while at the same time attempting to reduce carbon emissions, but if the Scottish Government could create jobs by improving energy efficiency, then this strategy looks far more coherent.