More eco measures in Aberdeenshire homes help tackle climate change
Hundreds more Aberdeenshire homes have been improved to help tackle climate change and fuel poverty.
But campaigners say more needs to be done to ensure the country meets its net zero target and people can afford to heat their homes.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme aims to reduce carbon emissions and help people at risk of fuel poverty by making energy firms install heat-saving measures such as insulation and more efficient boilers.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data shows 396 homes in Aberdeenshire were fitted with ECO measures in the year to June.
It means 11,078 households in the area have benefitted from the scheme since it launched in 2013. The most common improvement is cavity wall insulation, followed by the installation of more efficient boilers and loft insulation.
But charity National Energy Action says too many vulnerable people are still at risk of "needless death" due to a cold home.
Peter Smith, NEA director, said the average annual saving for improving a home's energy efficiency can be "life-changing", with savings up to £1,000 a year.
He said: "For too many households, a low level of energy efficiency is still making a big impact on whether they can afford to live in a warm, safe home.
"By focusing early efforts on the ‘worst first’ these significant savings also accrue over a longer-time period, at the same time as taking early action to significantly reduce carbon emissions, generate jobs, and economic growth."
The Energy Saving Trust said it is looking forward to seeing the Government's upcoming strategy aimed at decarbonising homes.
Stew Horne, head of policy, said: “The climate emergency is upon us and to meet the UK’s net zero carbon target we need to see an acceleration in the pace and scale of retrofitting our homes to make them more efficient."
A BEIS spokesman said significant progress was already being made, adding: “We want to go further and faster, ensuring nobody goes cold in their own home. We’re investing £1.3 billion into making homes more energy efficient, cheaper to heat and helping low-income families significantly reduce their energy bills."