New buildings in Scotland should immediately be required to use low or no-carbon heating, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.
Laying out “radical” proposals to counter the recent heat in buildings strategy put forward by the Scottish Government, party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said decarbonising heat would “make or break our climate emergency commitments”.
The government strategy, outlined by zero-carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie, would require new-builds to use “zero direct emissions heating” from 2024, but Cole-Hamilton’s plans would make the change immediate.
He also urged the government to make insulation a priority, while bringing in an up-front voucher scheme for homeowners to install low-carbon heating and more ambitious targets for the replacement of gas boilers.
“Gas boilers will be keeping the majority of us warm this winter, and there’s no disputing the fact that that needs to change,” he said.
“But the Scottish Government have failed to provide good answers for people who ask about the alternatives. Costs and bureaucracy create barriers that need to be torn down.
“Every new-build installed without low-emission technology is a problem that needs to be fixed within the next ten years.
“The SNP/Green Government don’t plan to call a halt for years, but we shouldn’t be adding to the problem.
“We need to up the ante on insulation to help those facing fuel poverty now, with funding increased until poor energy efficiency is no longer a driver.
“That helps bills, helps reduce emissions and makes homes net-zero ready, because technologies like heat pumps need a good level of insulation to work.
“The climate crisis and the fuel crisis are a reality now. We can’t wait years for radical action.”