Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 13:29 UK

Free 10k loans for 'green' homes

Thermogram image of a house showing heat loss
The government wants us all to have more energy efficient homes

Homeowners in Scotland will be able to borrow up to £10,000 interest free in order to improve energy efficiency.

The Scottish government has made £2m available for measures such as better insulation, more efficient boilers or small renewable energy systems.

The loans are part of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, aimed at helping meet a target of cutting C02 emissions by 42% by 2020.

Ministers estimate it will cost each household £7,000 on average to do so.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:"Energy efficiency is a key part of our economic recovery programme and our climate change ambitions.

"A waste of energy is a waste of money and with high fuel prices and the need to cut emissions, we must all take steps to cut energy use - in our homes, in the transport we use, in businesses and across the public sector.

The cash will help homeowners install renewable energy sources, like solar panels

"Improving household energy efficiency to meet our 2020 Climate Change Act targets could cost an average of £7,000 per home over that period.

"So the new scheme will provide practical measures that can make the quickest impacts - interest free loans to upgrade insulation, replace inefficient boilers or install double glazing or small scale renewables."

The announcement comes on top of a range of existing government schemes aimed at helping people cut their bills and transform the way they use energy.

Mr Swinney said: "Our consultation on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan takes a broad view of how energy is used and how its use could be reduced or improved, including potential regulation.

"This consultation is wide ranging and we need everyone to consider the action they can take to support changes. In the meantime, anyone can contact their local Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre to get independent advice on how to stop wasting energy."

Green Scotland

The new Energy Saving Scotland Home Loans will provide interest free loans of between £500 - £10,000.

Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government's Consultation on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan but called for increased funding and effective regulation to cut energy use and create jobs.

Chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Duncan McLaren said: "The government's figure of £7,000 per home needed to meet the 2020 targets may seem eye-watering, but compared to the average house value in Scotland it's small investment to make homes fit for the future. "

Commenting on the plan, Liberal Democrat Energy spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said: "The SNP has kicked energy efficiency even further into the long grass with a game of 70 questions.

Improving home energy efficiency is a win for not only for carbon savings but for lifting people out of fuel poverty and creating thousands of green jobs
Elizabeth Leighton
WWF Scotland

"Two and a half years after this plan was described by the SNP as a top priority, all that they've done is publish a second consultation.

"Ministers make bold claims about Scotland's climate change legislation. But it can only be world-leading if it is backed by firm, decisive action. That action is glaringly absent from this document.

Senior Policy Officer at WWF Scotland, Elizabeth Leighton, said: "We welcome today's consultation. Scotland's homes account for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions therefore making them low carbon is key to Scotland achieving its 42 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

"Improving home energy efficiency is a win for not only for carbon savings but for lifting people out of fuel poverty and creating thousands of green jobs."

The Scottish Green Party said they were 'disappointed' with the government's energy plan. Patrick Harvie MSP said: "SNP ministers want us to believe they understand the benefits and opportunities real energy efficiency can bring.

"Their rhetoric may be excellent, but their actual commitments remain a spectacular disappointment."

Scottish Labour's Andy Kerr said the SNP government offered "cold comfort" to Scotland's householders.

Mr Kerr said: "Scottish Labour's Central Heating Programme provided over 100,000 homes with new central heating systems and other energy saving measures, such as insulation.

"The sad truth is that the SNP are letting down Scotland's pensioners and we need to see much more urgent action from ministers to ensure that our elderly people are living in warm, energy-efficient homes."

Print Sponsor

Loan scheme for home insulation
03 Oct 09 |  Scotland
Home insulation scheme
13 Feb 09 |  Politics Show

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