Government Legislation Risks Increasing Fuel Poverty and Loss of Island Jobs

Urgent Action Needed

  • Serious challenges from the introduction of the new PAS requirements
  • All insultation works to cease running risk of increasing fuel poverty
  • Up to 14 jobs at risk
  • Options must be explored as matter of urgency

The Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Roddie Mackay, has written to the Scottish Government to express deep concern at the cessation of all activity relating to insulation works in the Western Isles resulting in the loss of a key tool to combat fuel poverty and the loss of 14 jobs.

The move follows an announcement by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) of the difficult decision to cease all activity relating to Insulation works as a result of the introduction of new PAS requirements (industry standards) for retrofit energy efficiency measures on domestic properties. TIG have described ‘insurmountable challenges’ presented by the PAS requirements.

In the letter to Mr Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Leader Roddie Mackay states: “there does not appear to be any flexibility available within the PAS system to take account of the distinct circumstances of rural and island areas.”

The decision by the TIG Management Board will result in 14 redundancies.  The loss of this skilled, local workforce will have a substantial and negative impact on the local economy, particularly as it relates to experienced and skilled insulation installers.  It will also require TIG to reappraise its business model, which could have a bearing on the other key services they currently deliver to the community, such as Care and Repair and Energy Advice.”

This situation is extremely concerning to the Comhairle.  You will be aware we already have the highest Fuel Poverty in the country and this situation is adding another significant challenge to our ability to address Fuel Poverty.”

Mr Mackay also outlines measures that could be taken to mitigate the impact of the legislation and protect jobs including reverting to the previous PAS requirements under an islands derogation, or an injection of underused  Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) money with a related upskilling programme for the wider supply chain.

Mr Mackay is keen to explore these and other options to avoid the loss of a ‘skilled and reputable island workforce’ which, ‘from an island proofing perspective’ would be ‘a wholly retrograde step’. Mr Mackay has called for an urgent meeting to address the issues.    

Notes To Editors: Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) was formed as a non-profit making organisation as part of a strategic agreement between Scottish Homes and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to act as a local Housing Agency to provide housing for sale and rent throughout the Outer Hebrides.