Over 58,000 Scottish homes benefit from energy saving scheme

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image captionThe scheme aims to combat fuel poverty by making houses more efficient

More than 58,000 measures to improve energy efficiency were installed in Scottish homes last year, official figures show.

Power companies are required to install the measures as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

The ECO aims to help tackle fuel poverty and lower carbon emissions across the country.

But the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has voiced concerns that the ECO scheme could be scrapped.

Local funding

Statistics from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed a higher proportion of houses in Scotland benefited from having improved insulation installed or new boilers fitted than the rest of the UK.

In total 58,058 energy saving measures were fitted to homes in Scotland.

The figure means 24.5 measures installed for every 1,000 homes in Scotland, more than the UK figure of 20.5.

The ECO scheme was supported by the Scottish government's Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) initiative - which is budgeted to provide £60 million of funding for households suffering from fuel poverty.

This funding will be used by local councils to pay for further work in improving the energy efficiency of domestic property.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Thousands of homes across Scotland have become warmer and cheaper to heat thanks to the Scottish government's support for delivery of energy efficiency schemes.

"Through HEEPS, local council-led, area-based schemes are being supported across the whole of Scotland which will enable local councils to leverage ECO investment."

Ms Sturgeon added: "In total, the Scottish government will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three-year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency."

Affordable heating

But the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has voiced concerns that the ECO scheme would be relaxed.

Policy manager David Stewart said: "The SFHA is concerned that the proposals to cut ECO - which would see the UK government relaxing the commitment that at present ensures companies deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic energy users - will stall the positive progress in investment.

"We already know of a number of schemes which have been scrapped as a result of the proposed changes."

Mr Stewart concluded: "We therefore call on the UK government to maintain ECO funding and the Scottish government to use European Union funds to invest in energy efficiency."

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