Scottish Government trails in energy efficiency league despite green efforts

THE Scottish Government is languishing in the bottom half of a league table ranking the energy-efficient practices of major organisations in the UK.

Despite continuous efforts to promote its green credentials, the Scottish Government building estate is at position 1,153 in the list of about 2,000 organisations.

Its poor performance came to light as environment minister Stewart Stevenson announced he would be speaking at a major climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, later this month to urge world leaders to “share Scotland’s ambition to intensify the battle against climate change”.

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Environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland described the government’s ranking as “embarrassing”.

Stan Blackley, chief executive of FoE Scotland, said: “How embarrassing to find Scottish ministers languishing very low down this list. This goes to show, once again, that they’re very good at promoting themselves as green, but the reality is very different and many of our ministers are all talk and no action.”

A number of local authorities and public bodies in Scotland performed even worse than the Scottish Government, coming joint bottom of the pile.

They included Edinburgh and Dundee city councils, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Borders and NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Businesses at equal bottom place included Highlands and Islands airports, Scottish & Newcastle, Scottish Sea Farms, Jurys Inn, Vue Entertainment Investment and Bannatyne Fitness.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem came joint top of the league table. The best-scoring organisation in Scotland was energy provider ScottishPower, at number 27.

The Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body, which encompasses the Holyrood building itself, performed better than the larger Scottish Government estate, at 246th position.

Nigel Douglas, head of sustainability, Scotland, at Logica, which was ranked at position 93, said the low rating for a “large number of organisations” was “disappointing”, “particularly as that list includes those which we might expect to lead by example”.

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The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting regime that covers all organisations using more than 6,000 megawatt hours a year of electricity – equivalent to an annual electricity bill of about £500,000.

The scheme came into force in April 2010 and aims to reduce UK carbon emissions not covered by other pieces of legislation.

This is the first performance league table and ranks them in terms of their early action to manage their energy – on the steps they have taken to install smart meters and comply with Carbon Trust standards of energy management.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it remained “committed to leading by example”.

He added: “The results in this league table are misleading as they are based solely on the results of automatic meter readers and performance against the Carbon Trust Standard. They therefore do not provide the full picture.”

An Edinburgh spokesman said: “The table doesn’t reflect improvements we expect from installing smart meters across our estate.”