Aban on installing gas boilers in new build homes will halt house building because there is not enough electricity for heat pumps, industry leaders have warned SNP ministers.
Homes for Scotland, which represents house builders north of the Border, said developments across the country were being downsized thanks to the SNP outlawing the boilers in new properties from next year.
The trade body and the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) told a Holyrood inquiry that builders cannot get the “vast” amount of electricity they require from the National Grid to power the heat pumps they are required to install.
Fionna Kell, director of policy for Homes for Scotland, said there was a shortfall of around 114,000 homes in Scotland “and the proposals to introduce the new build heat standard is likely to have a significant impact on the supply of new homes in the future”.
The SPF raised the example of a very large housing development being built in Winchburgh, West Lothian that originally required eight megavolt-amperes (MVA) of electricity, before the gas boiler ban was announced.
Alan Stark, the chairman of the organisation’s sustainability and building design committee, said this had soared to 35 MVA thanks to the need to install heat pumps and charging points for electric cars.
He said: “So it’s not a fairly small change – this is a vast change and the new power supply they have, they have been told the maximum they can get is 15 (MVA).
“So in effect, until that’s resolved nationwide, these developments are not going to be able to proceed to full development. They are going to have to stop at some point unless we can have the infrastructure resolved.”
Although he said there had been discussions with the Scottish Government and utilities suppliers, he said: “It’s quite slow progress. Everyone’s aware of the problem but no one seems to be able to have certainly not a short-term solution.”
Ms Kell told MSPs: “That particular case study – replicate that across the whole country and that’s the fundamental concern that we’ve got.
“Whilst we fully recognise the need to be addressing the climate crisis, we just respectfully want to lay down the fact there’s still a housing crisis in Scotland as well.”
She said the problem was exacerbated by the SNP banning the installation of gas boilers in new homes a year earlier than the proposed 2025 date when this is due to happen in England.