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SFHA Calls for Equal Access to Renewable Heat Incentive Payments for Social Landlords

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SFHA Calls for Equal Access to Renewable Heat Incentive Payments for Social Landlords


Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Environment

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has responded to the UK Government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) consultation by calling for support for the Scottish housing associations and co-operatives which are installing renewable heating.

The RHI is a scheme that is designed to increase the uptake of renewable heat technologies by compensating for the additional cost of installing renewables, rather than traditional gas or electric systems. The scheme will also help reduce carbon emissions in the UK and cut fuel bills, especially for homes which are off the mains gas network. The Federation believes that it would be a mistake for social landlords to be excluded from RHI payments due to the Government’s view that the organisations can make significant savings in capital costs.

SFHA Policy Manager David Stewart said:

“Housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland have been leading the way in installing renewable heating. These technologies - solar panels that heat water, heat pumps and biomass boilers - not only reduce the emissions that cause climate change but also have a vital role to play in cutting fuel bills in properties that don't have access to mains gas.

“Social landlords can continue to lead on the roll out of these technologies and help the UK Government to achieve its aim of mainstreaming the technology and reducing the costs of installing the kit. To do this, however, our members need to be given access to the RHI.”

Mr Stewart continued:

“While some larger social landlords may make some savings by installing significant numbers of renewables, the majority of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland are small compared to their counterparts in England, with over half owning less than 1000 homes. Rural settlements which are off the mains gas network are most likely to benefit from renewable heat. However, these communities are a significant distance from major centres and landlords will often own very few properties, meaning that there is no opportunity to benefit from savings through bulk procurement. In addition, landlords installing renewables need to train staff and support tenants to use the new technologies.

“With housing associations and co-operatives facing significantly reduced grants for new build development and the prospect of possible loss of income caused by welfare reform, social landlords need access to the tariffs in order to be able to install renewables and cut the fuel bills of some of the poorest people in society.”


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  1. The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
  2. The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
  3. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.


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