ENERGY: New green targets could cost rural homeowners more than £30,000

By Lucy Ashton

Tens of thousands of rural homes could be facing up-front energy costs of more than £30,000 to meet the SNP-Greens’ mandate for all buildings to be energy-efficient by 2025.

Residents in areas such as the North East and Highlands and Islands living in off-gas grid properties have only three years to meet the target of having electric heating systems installed.

Tory spokesman Liam Kerr and Patrick Harvie, minister for zero carbon buildings.

Patrick Harvie, minister for zero carbon buildings, wants more sustainable options, such as heat pumps, installed to replace fossil fuel alternatives.

But in response to a parliamentary question from Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr, the Green MSP admitted that around 40,000 countryside homes – nearly a quarter of Scotland’s 170,000 off-grid properties – were not suitable for the installation of air source heat pumps.

And according to research by the trade association Liquid Gas UK, forcing these homes to upgrade to greener electric systems could cost homeowners up to £32,000.

The SNP-Green coalition is yet to set out what alternatives will be available for off-grid homes who will be compelled by law to move away from traditional heating systems. 

Shadow secretary for net zero, energy and transport Liam Kerr MSP said: “The fact that tens of thousands of rural homes risk being left behind and exposed tells you everything you need to know about this SNP-Green government.

“It continually obsesses about the central belt while leaving the rest of Scotland in the lurch.

“In announcing these plans, the Scottish Government didn’t stop to think about the impact on tens of thousands of people living off the gas grid.

“Now it risks implementing a policy without giving any consideration to how the people living in these homes will cope.

“Given the timescales involved, ministers must urgently set out alternatives for off-grid homes to meet the targets set down by government without being hit in the pocket or inconvenienced.

“Life can already be difficult for communities in these areas – the Scottish Government should not be seeking to make it even harder.” 

Picture: Island of Barra and Vatersay in the Hebrides.

One comment

  1. Frankly it is time that trans supporting Harvie was removed from post.

    During the election campaign back in 2016 Harvie was asked about whether Sturgeon should introduce a 50% income tax on all income over £100,000 which Sturgeon was not minded to introduce.

    The reason for not introducing the 50% income tax was quite simple. Folks earning over £100k and running up to millions tend to be quite flexible in how they can arrange their income tax. (Consider a Scottish MP who spending four of five days a week in London and who can flip their tax residency to England on the basis that they spend most time in London )

    And so, modelling the flexible nature of very high earners revealed that chasing them off to England, or elsewhere like Northern Ireland would cause Scotland to lose hundreds of millions of tax. (Put simply the loss is not the +10% Scottish levy but ALL tax from the individuals flipping to paying elsewhere UK tax).

    When asked about this hard reality Harvie raised his fist and said to Bernard Ponsonby that it was “time to show solidarity”.

    And that was that. How many hospitals do you want to close down Patrick to show solidarity? The guy’s a clown and he does the same here with rural residents by forcing them to shell out something around £30,000 to go green.

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