Climate Change Committee members agree Council responses to Net Zero linked consultations

Members at today’s (20 March 2024) Climate Change Committee considered the local authority’s responses to two Scottish Government consultations which are designed to combat the climate emergency.

The consultation responses related to the proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill and the Social Housing Net Zero Standard consultation.

Within the responses Highland Council recognises its responsibilities in contributing to the fight to combat climate change as well as the concerns around full delivery, particularly considering budget constraints and how essential it will be to take a pro-active approach in order to attract external funding support.

The Council’s response to both consultations can be found under Item 5 and Item 6 of the report to today’s Committee, and both are intrinsically linked.

Chair of Highland Council’s Climate Change Committee, Cllr Sarah Fanet, said: “Heating our homes and buildings account for one of the largest causes of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland.

“To reach Net Zero we need to change the way we heat our homes and buildings. How we achieve this must also be tempered by a sense of achievability and realism that takes the geographic reality of the Highlands into account as well as the urgent housing needs, whilst maintaining an appropriate level of commitment and investment.

“The Council’s responses to both consultations are fair and realistic, but also highlight the local authority’s ongoing commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

The Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Consultation can be found here. Many of the themes of that consultation are reflected in The Scottish Government’s Consultation on a new Social Housing Net Zero Standard (SHNZS). This will replace the post-2020 Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH2).

It is proposed that the Standard will require social landlords to improve fabric efficiency by 2033, and install clean heating, across their stock, by 2045 where it is technically feasible and cost-effective to do so.

The proposed changes in the Consultation will have far-reaching implications within the Council to its journey of achieving Net Zero as far as technically feasible for the 15,000 Council houses. In particular, there are currently around 8,000 Council houses heated by gas which will require to be replaced over time.

20 Mar 2024