My own background is strongly Scots-Irish and German. I can tell you from history, the history of Scotland and the history of my own family, that if there’s one thing the Scots are good at, it’s rebelling. Of late Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, seems to be something of the poor stepchild in that relationship. But now we are heartened to see the Scots rebelling again – this time over the ir own country’s mandates over heat pumps.
A group of Scottish politicians is warning that the government’s plan to force households to install heat pumps by 2033 is not feasible in rural areas, The Telegraph reports.
Four members of parliament from different parties, all representing rural areas of Scotland, have signed a letter calling for an “urgent review” of the SNP-Green government’s proposal to require households to install electric-powered heat pumps.
Scottish buildings minister Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, introduced a reforms package to “decarbonise” Scotland’s homes and bring them in line with “new energy efficiency standards no later than 2033.” His proposed reforms of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating system may even make it impossible to sell a home that does not have a heat pump system installed.
Already in 2021, Scotland’s energy minister admitted that installing a heat pump in a home would cost about £10,000 and be more expensive to run than a fossil fuel boiler, which costs approximately £2,500 to install. But in rural areas, the costs of installing a heat pump are estimated to soar to as much as £32,000.
It’s nothing new, of course, for pols with agendas and who hail from heavily urbanized areas to ignore the wants and needs of rural folks. As evidence look here in the U.S. at the Imperial City’s push for electric cars, which may be practical for a big-city commuter but sure as hell not for those of us who live in rural environments, especially with sub-zero winter temperatures.
Some Scots MPs are pushing back.
All this has led a small group of rural Scottish lawmakers to come together against the planned reforms.
The letter to the Scottish government, seen by The Telegraph, demands a thorough rethinking of the proposal. It was crafted by Fergus Ewing, a former SNP government cabinet secretary, and signed by Labour and Tory MSPs. Ewing told The Telegraph,
By seeking to reform EPCs and forcing rural homeowners to rely on electrified heating alone from 2025, the Scottish Government is taking an approach to decarbonisation that will pose a serious risk to those living in remote areas.
Not only does it threaten to burden off-grid property owners with overwhelming costs, but it also leaves them vulnerable to extreme-weather-induced power outages and disregards the realities of inefficient rural and islands’ electricity grids and infrastructure.
Douglas Lumsden, the Scottish Tory shadow energy minister, another signatory of the letter, called the proposals “deeply unfair on Scotland’s rural communities”:
If we are to reach net zero, we need to do so in a way that is fair, affordable, and which offers choice to Scottish homeowners. Given the timescales involved, ministers must urgently review these proposals.
It’s doubtful that rural Scottish dwellers will start painting their faces with woad, sharpening their claymores, blowing the dust out of their bagpipes and forming up for battle. But expect to see more of this. We face many similar issues here in the States, where those of us who live in rural areas are either ignored or are having our chosen lifestyles downright threatened by big-city pols. Our own representatives are badly outnumbered and even the ones who speak for us honestly are drowned out in the urban noise.
We can continue, of course, to push back through the usual channels, as these Scottish pols are doing. But more and more, I think you’ll see a lot of folks out here in the hinterlands just ignore the finger-wagging. One can already see a fair amount of this here in the Great Land, where (outside of Anchorage and Juneau, at any rate) the populace in general are some of the most “buzz off and leave us alone” types you’re liable to find anywhere.
And so one side continues to try to interfere, while the other tries to ignore them. Sooner or later something is going to break.