Wishart quizzes minister on ‘confused’ heating policy

18 Apr 2024
A fire burning in a wood burning stove with the door open

Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart has quizzed Scottish Greens co-leader and Minister for Zero Carbon Building, Patrick Harvie MSP, on the Scottish Government’s decision not to allow the use of fossil fuel heating systems in new-build construction. Ms Wishart sought clarity on the measures to allow for installations of traditional heating systems for emergency use.

In a session of Social Justice Portfolio Questions today (Thursday 18th April 2024) Ms Wishart asked:

“In recent years Shetland’s seen the vulnerability of its power network.

“Adverse weather events of wind and snow left homes without power and heating for days.

“Does the minister agree that this would be a justified need for the installation of traditional heating in new builds for back up and emergency use, and does he agree that the messaging around this policy has been confused?”

After the session Ms Wishart said:

“Mr Harvie may believe that the Scottish Government’s messaging on this policy has been clear but that does not explain the multiple questions from fellow MSPs seeking clarity from him.

“If installation of traditional heating systems for emergency use will be included in the policy, there should have been much less fanfare about the changes. It has caused unnecessary concern for communities in Scotland’s islands and rural areas.

“I welcome the Minister’s knowledge of the Lerwick District Heating Scheme but I am keen to remind him that Shetland’s geography does not allow for every home in the islands to be connected by the scheme. When the lights go out in Shetland for many that means there’s no heating either.

“The geography of island and rural areas is not necessarily a barrier to sustainable energy, but it is the distances, infrastructure and reliance on transport that often make repairs more complex, as we have witnessed in recent years.”


Notes to Editors

Ms Wishart’s question can be found here.

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