With almost 75% of fires in Scotland’s homes caused by electricity, there is an obvious financial cost. But the personal one can be incalculable.
Central to our recommendations for improving electrical safety in Scotland’s homes is a call for an integrated approach, including a cross-government plan. In this way, intelligence can be shared and the evidence base improved, allowing better targeting of resources – particularly for the most vulnerable.
The Charity is also calling on the Scottish Government to address the current ‘tenure lottery’, by introducing a new common Housing Standard. In this way, regardless of whether a property is rented or owned, everyone will have the same level of protection from electrical risk. We are also campaigning for effective safeguards from dangerous, fake, and substandard electrical products, especially those bought online.
But forthcoming legislation needs to look to the future. The Scottish Government has ambitious net zero targets which mean inevitable changes, particularly to our housing stock and transport, and with an increased use of electricity.
Decarbonising heat is essential to tackling our climate emergency. And electricity, increasingly produced from renewable sources, is set to play a key role in both new builds and retrofitting. A net zero home would include low carbon heating, such as electrically operated heat pumps and on-site electricity generation. It is also increasingly likely that many homes will have an electric vehicle and associated on-site charging.
Consequently, policy development must ensure that safety is prioritised, as we transition to low carbon housing. But to achieve this, we need the right information. So among our recommendations is the updating of the Scottish Housing Condition Survey, to detail the condition of a home’s electrical installation and potential capacity constraints. This would provide essential data when it comes to establishing how Scotland’s current housing stock might be updated for a low carbon future – and where electrical risk may arise.
Read more about our policies in Scotland, here.
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