Fewer than 0.04% of Scottish households join SNP’s green homes initiative
ONLY 841 of Scotland’s 2.37 million households have taken advantage of a flagship Scottish Government policy introduced to make homes greener as part of world-leading climate change legislation.
Three years ago ministers introduced a scheme that offered council tax discounts to home-owners who were prepared to make their properties more environmentally friendly by getting their lofts and walls insulated.
The initiative was a key part of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which has been hailed as the most ambitious attempt to cut greenhouse emissions anywhere in the world.
However, a survey of Scotland’s 32 councils, conducted using Freedom of Information legislation, has revealed that fewer than one household a day has taken advantage of the initiative since it became law.
Opposition politicians claimed the take-up was “pathetic” and urged the Scottish Government to do more to promote the scheme.
No fewer than 13 local authorities had not had a single application for the council tax energy efficiency discount scheme, while the total value of council tax rebates awarded across the country came to less than £46,000.
All councils have a duty under the 2009 Act to set up the scheme which provides people with a discount to their council tax (excluding water and sewerage) when they install energy efficient measures.
The scheme operates in conjunction with energy companies. The proposal offered by Scottish Gas is that a customer would buy cavity wall insulation for £250 and/or Loft insulation for £274 and receive a Council Tax discount of £60.
It is estimated by Scottish Gas that annual energy savings (based on a three-bedroom semi-detached property) of £160 through cavity wall insulation and £205 through loft insulation could be achieved by the customer.
Scottish Gas would then refund the discount of £60 and administration costs to the local authority for each installation carried out under the scheme.
Effective home insulation can dramatically cut down on emissions as well as saving money. It is estimated that the average UK house would save £280 per year and 1.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Yesterday Gavin Brown, the Conservative MSP who conducted the survey, said: “The Scottish Government is extremely ineffective when it comes down to delivery on climate change. The concept of a green council tax discount, as championed by the Conservatives, is a good one. However, the Scottish Government has clearly not kept track of the scheme and done precious little to promote it. The number of households that have been granted a green council tax discount is truly pathetic.
“The Scottish Government needs to explain why the results are so poor and tell us what action they intend to take to get the scheme back on track.”
Mr Brown added: “The Scottish Parliament passed world-leading climate change legislation but the SNP Government has failed to deliver on the ground. It makes you wonder where else they have failed to match words with deeds.”
Yesterday A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to its world-leading carbon reduction targets, as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. The Act places a duty under this Act to set up a scheme to provide people with a discount to their council tax when they install energy efficient measures.