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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 05:51 GMT 06:51 UK
Councils 'failing' on energy targets
Electricity pylon
Energy efficiency targets were set in 1996

Councils are failing to tackle climate change by improving insulation and heating in Scotland's homes, a report has said.

The report has been compiled by Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) and the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE).

The organisations want strengthened legislation, aimed at boosting domestic energy efficiency, which they claim is "floundering" and "in danger of failing entirely".

They say Scottish local authorities have made just over half the energy efficiency improvements sought by the 1996 Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA).

The Act charged councils with attaining "substantial" improvements - set by the then UK Government at 30% over 10 years.

But many Scots authorities negotiated that figure downwards and now have targets as low as 9%, the report states.

With few exceptions it is clear that Scotland is failing to deliver on energy efficiency
Kirstie Shirra, FoES

Its main recommendations include giving more resources and power to authorities at local level and setting mandatory targets both locally and nationally.

Kirstie Shirra, of FoES, said: "It is extremely disappointing that legislation which could improve the situation is failing to make any significant progress.

"With few exceptions it is clear that Scotland is failing to deliver on energy efficiency.

"Worryingly, in political party manifestos this election, the issue of energy efficiency was not given the attention it deserves.

"We hope the publication of this report will now prompt changes to the Act and real, essential improvements to energy efficiency in Scotland's homes can begin to take place."

The report found efficiency targets and results of different councils varied greatly.

Electricity metre
The report calls for mandatory targets

And the Act has only achieved a 1.13% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions since 1990, the report adds.

It warns that improvement rates must increase to over 2% year on year if Scottish councils are to make a proportional contribution to the UK's CO2 reduction target.

ACE director Andrew Warren said: "The report highlights that a very small minority of local authorities have made substantial improvements in energy efficiency.

"It is vital that we build on the good practice they demonstrate and put in place the necessary funding and mechanisms to allow other authorities to follow suit.

"If HECA continues to operate in its current state, many local authorities will fail to make any significant progress and the vast opportunities that energy efficiency presents will be lost."

BBC Scotland's Louise Batchelor
"Damp homes should be a thing of the past say Friends of the Earth"

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