1.0 Purpose and Background
1.1 The Scottish Government's proposals for a new Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing ( EESSH) followed from 'Homes Fit for the 21 st Century' which was published in February 2011. This had set out the Scottish Government's vision for housing for the coming decade and our commitments that by April 2015, all social landlords must ensure that all their dwellings pass all elements (where applicable) of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS); and that by November 2016, so far as is reasonably practicable, nobody will be living in fuel poverty in Scotland.
1.2 Separately, the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 set a world-leading target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions against 1990 levels by 2020. By 2050, an 80% target reduction should be achieved from the 1990 baseline.
The Sustainable Housing Strategy
1.3 The Scottish Government is committed to tackling fuel poverty and meeting the challenging targets for reducing carbon emissions set by the Scottish Parliament. The Sustainable Housing Strategy ( SHS) sets out the actions to be taken to support our vision of warm, high quality, affordable, low carbon homes and a housing sector that helps to establish a successful low carbon economy across Scotland. Both the SHS and the EESSH were subject to consultation over the summer of 2012, and the finalised Sustainable Housing Strategy 1 covered energy efficiency for all tenures. While the EESSH is concerned only with social housing, we have established a working group to develop proposals for minimum energy efficiency standards in private sector housing, taking account of issues raised in the consultations.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
1.4 The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires public bodies, such as councils, to ensure that they are acting sustainably through their actions and through the decisions they make. Councils also have statutory duties, through the requirement to have Local Housing Strategies ( LHS) in place, and specific guidance 2 has been issued on addressing climate change.
Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland ( HEEPS)
1.5 Local authorities have a key role to play in energy efficiency matters affecting their areas. They also have a key role to play in delivering the Scottish Government's Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland ( HEEPS). This will deliver on the Fuel Poverty Forum's recommendations for a shift of focus to Area Based Schemes ( ABS) to tackle fuel poverty but with national schemes to provide for the most vulnerable households wherever they live.
1.6 Local authorities, as strategic housing authorities, have the local knowledge and information needed to identify fuel poor areas and develop schemes. They will work closely with other housing providers in their area, such as Registered Social landlords ( RSLs), to ensure the most fuel poor areas are identified and prioritised. HEEPS is being designed to be able to offer significant support to social landlords by helping to address issues such as 'blockers' in mixed tenure blocks. We also know that social landlords are making good progress towards meeting SHQS by April 2015 despite the difficulties of consent to common works in mixed blocks and harder-to-treat properties.