A million homes in Scotland need to switch from gas heating to more eco-friendly alternatives by the end of the decade, Liberal Democrats have insisted.
Leader Willie Rennie insisted that kind of “ambitious” effort was needed to help Scotland meet its climate change targets.
He pledged his party would make the change as he launched the Lib Dems zero carbon homes strategy.
He also vowed Lib Dems would double cash going to tackle fuel poverty, saying “at best” the SNP’s plans mean one in 20 homes could still be affected by this by 2040.
As well as committing to switching one million homes away from gas to zero or low emission sources of heating by 2030, Mr Rennie promised there would be incentives for all properties to improve their energy efficiency.
A five-year programme will work to improve 80,000 homes a year, with the Liberal Democrats announcing they would double the existing £94 million fuel poverty budget by the end of the next Holyrood term.
The plans, unveiled by the party in the run up to the Scottish Parliament elections on May 6, could also create some 34,000 new jobs, it claimed.
Mr Rennie said: “Today I am setting out a commitment to switch one million homes from gas to zero and low emissions heating by 2030.
“This is a big number but if we haven’t moved half the homes in Scotland to climate-friendly heating by 2030, we will not meet our climate change targets.”
He told how he had recently had a heat pump installed in his own home, adding that it will be important to “line up the skills, training and business support for the tens of thousands of people who will be part of this transformation”.
But he added: “I am concerned that, under the SNP’s best-case scenario plans, there will still be one in 20 households in fuel poverty in 2040.
“We must take action now to improve homes and make them greener and warmer.
“Work on this will create jobs, cut bills and tackle the climate emergency.”
He continued: “Scotland could be a beacon to the rest of the world, investing now to cut carbon from our energy networks will pay an environmental dividend for decades, we can’t afford to wait.”
The Liberal Democrats want to bring forward an energy efficiency and zero carbon Bill, which Mr Rennie said would “introduce ambitious targets so we can meet our emissions and fuel poverty targets”.
He insisted: “When I say Scottish Liberal Democrats will put recovery first, this is what it looks like: more jobs, lower bills and greener homes.
“This is what people want politicians to focus on, improving lives and communities, not wasting another five years squabbling about how to deliver another divisive referendum.”
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