Scotland announces £64 million for local heat and energy efficiency projects


A programme to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency is set to receive an extra £9 million of funding this year to support reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help fuel poor households save money on their heating bills, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Scottish Government’s Area Based Scheme (ABS) programme will provide over £64 million in 2021/22, up from £55 million the year before, to enable every local authority in Scotland to deliver energy efficiency measures to fuel poor households and communities.

The work forms part of a £1.6 billion investment over the next five years to transform the heat and energy efficiency of buildings.

The Scottish Government’s draft Heat in Buildings strategy sets out a vision for more than one million homes to be using low and zero emissions heating systems by 2030.

The Scottish Government reports that ABS projects have helped deliver energy efficiency improvements to more than 100,000 homes since the programme launched in 2013.

That is reported to have generated cumulative savings for household fuel bills worth over £900 million while reducing CO2 emissions by over 3.4 million tonnes.

Local ABS projects plan to install low and zero emissions heating systems in more than 500 homes this year, as well as insulation and other improvements such as solar panels and battery storage.

Delivered by local authorities targeting fuel poor areas and communities, ABS funding targets the ‘hardest to treat’ properties requiring external wall or complex cavity wall insulation.

By leveraging investment by private and social landlords, ECO finance and Scottish Government funding, ABS projects are reported to have been particularly successful in delivering improvements for multi-occupancy properties such as flats and tenements, as well as whole streets.

Net Zero and Energy Secretary, Michael Matheson, commented on the announcement: “We are wholly committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and, crucially, doing so in a way that is fair for everyone and leaves no-one behind.

“Reducing emissions from heating our homes is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we become a net-zero society by 2045.

“It will require us all to take action and everyone across Scotland will need to play their part in making sure our homes and buildings are fit for a net-zero future.

“We are committed to rapidly scaling-up action, but doing so in a way that ensures that our fuel poverty objectives and our commitment to tackling climate change work together, ensuring a fair and just transition to net zero.

“I am pleased to confirm increased funding for this year’s ABS programme, which continues to support on-the-ground delivery of projects making a tangible and positive difference – not just to greenhouse gas emissions, but to people’s lives.”