Open letter to Nicola Sturgeon regarding zero carbon homes

Open letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 

Below is our open letter to Nicola Sturgeon in response to George Osborne's recent attacks on zero carbon homes and renewables. As the timing of the announcements meant that many people were on leave I'll keep updating the list of signatories here. If you would like to be added please email me with your name and any affiliations you are able to use - keith[dot]baker[at]

Many thanks to all those who've already signed - we made The National!


5th August 2015

Dear First Minister,

In light of Chancellor George Osborne’s scrapping of the zero carbon homes target for England we are writing to urge you not to abandon the Scottish targets and trajectory set out by the Sullivan Panel in 2013, and to work with us to develop new policies to ensure the wide-ranging impacts of the disastrous decisions now being made at Westminster will not be felt by the people of Scotland.
Improving the condition and energy efficiency of the Scottish housing stock will be essential in meeting many of our environmental, social and economic objectives towards 2030 and 2050, and removing the current targets, or letting them slip further, will add to our legacy of sub-standard housing that is not fit for a world in which all homes will need to be zero carbon homes.

As underlined by a recent open letter to the Chancellor [1], businesses have already invested in preparing for these future standards, and the opposition to the dropping of the target has come from a broad spectrum of experts spanning industry, professional organisations and academia. This, along with the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Green Deal, and the weakening of the Energy Companies Obligation, effectively removes the few remaining drivers for energy efficiency in England, is a highly regressive attack that will undermine investor confidence and constrain innovation in the housing industry.

Furthermore, the Chancellor’s equally regressive attack on renewable energy will inevitably constrain progress in Scotland and make it ever more risky to rely on grid decarbonisation for meeting our emissions targets, placing even more emphasis on the need to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, public services and industries.

Scotland is home to world-leading expertise in architecture, building science, engineering, and many other fields from which expertise is needed to solve the complex problems of decarbonising our society and meeting our climate targets equitably and sustainably, but now, more than ever, we need to be confident that the Scottish Government is behind us.      


Dr Keith Baker, the Initiative for Carbon Accounting (ICARB) & School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University
Prof Sue Roaf, the Initiative for Carbon Accounting (ICARB) & Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, Heriot-Watt University
Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland
Chris Stewart, Chair, Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA) & Director, Collective Architecture
Prof Emeritus Keith Barnham, Imperial College London
Prof Leon Freris, Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Loughborough University
Ron Mould, School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University
Dr Gerry Wolff, Coordinator, Energy Fair
Neil Sutherland, Architect & Managing Director, MAKAR Ltd
David Aitken, MCIOB, Lochlie Construction Group
Annalisa Simonella, Director, Loud1 Design
Lisa Ann Pasquale, MCIBSE, Director, Six Cylinder Limited, Fellow - Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE)
Bruce Newlands, Kraft Architecture + Design
Andy Paterson
Eoin Ryan, Architect & Co-convenor, Dundee & Angus Green Party
Andrew Llanwarne, Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Tayside
David Sommervell, Convener, Transition Edinburgh
Julio Bros-Williamson, Scottish Energy Centre, Edinburgh Napier University
David Hood, Torchbearer Ltd
Richard Meiklejohn, MRICS, Director, MAJR Group