John Questions Scottish Government on District Heating

During the Ministerial Statement on Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2012, Tuesday 10th June 2014, John pressed the Minister for Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse on targets for district heating schemes.

The statement the Minister provided to Parliament read:

“For example, through the heat network partnership, the Scottish Government and our agencies will build on the work that underpins the Scottish Government’s draft heat generation policy statement to commit resources to supporting delivery of district heating projects, and we are actively engaged with projects across Scotland.

The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, has committed to set up a working group under the expert commission on district heating to consider the existing regulatory context and to develop proposals for a regulatory framework. As part of that work, it will investigate how best to ensure that public sector buildings connect to district heating networks, where they are available and when that is cost effective.”

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Ind): I apologise to you, Presiding Officer, and to the minister for missing his opening remarks. I welcome the minister’s comments on district heating—in particular, the announcement on the expert commission, which will clearly require collaborative working, not least with planning and development officials.

The minister has assured us of co-ordination at the highest level. There will need also to be co-ordination at local level. Will he set out a timeframe with specific targets for district heating schemes?

Paul Wheelhouse: Mr Finnie might be aware that that matter is in the ministerial portfolio of my colleague Fergus Ewing, who has been very supportive of this agenda. I want to thank him for the action that he has taken.
We have an opportunity to consider the current regulatory framework, how it influences take-up of district heating and what kind of regulatory framework we might need in the future. I encourage those who have an interest in the issue to engage in that process. I will ask Fergus Ewing to address the point that the member raises in due course, once further information comes forward about the process.

Commenting after his question John said: “While I was disappointed that the Minister was not able to provide a clearer timeframe, I was heartened to see that the Scottish Government is taking serious steps to ensure that district heating schemes work to their fullest.”


You can watch John’s question here: