NEARLY 1.5 million homes in Scotland are classed as “unhealthily cold” and households with low energy efficiency bands are more likely to be living in fuel poverty, new figures reveal.

Campaigners from Existing Homes Alliance, whose members include environmental charities WWF Scotland and Changeworks, compiled the figures – showing 62 per cent of Scots were living in cold houses – and called on politicians to get rid of the “scourge” by 2025.

Guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommends properties are at least Energy Performance Certificate band C, and ideally band B, to reduce the risk of death and ill-health associated with living in a cold home.

Existing Homes Alliance chairman Alan Ferguson said: “These figures show that if the next Scottish government set an objective to bring all homes in Scotland to at least a C energy performance standard by 2025, they could end the scourge of cold homes currently affecting thousands of households in every single parliamentary constituency.

“Not only did more than 50 business and civil society organisations welcome the cross-party commitment to making improved energy efficiency for Scotland’s homes a National Infrastructure Priority, but the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence suggested a ‘C’ standard is the minimum energy efficiency level to avoid the risk of death and ill-health associated with cold homes.”

More than 75 per cent of households are estimated to be living in a cold home in the constituencies of Western Isles, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Shetland, Orkney, Argyll and Bute, and the Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

Just three constituencies had more than half of homes with an “acceptable” energy rating of EPC band C or higher – Glasgow Shettleston, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, and Glasgow Anniesland.

Dr Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Heating Scotland’s buildings accounts for more than half of our climate change emissions.

“Ensuring every home reaches a C energy performance standard by 2025 is the minimum level of ambition required to allow our climate change targets to be met. A political commitment that no-one should live in a hard-to-heat, draughty home would be good for millions of households, and would drastically reduce emissions too.”

Wilson Shaw, chairman of the National Insulation Association (NIA) in Scotland, said a commitment from the next Scottish government to ensure all homes in Scotland reach a minimum energy efficiency standard could create up to 9,000 jobs a year.

He added: “Today’s figures show that such a commitment would benefit thousands of households across every single Scottish parliamentary constituency. Few other capital investments could make such a difference, and such a commitment would give the energy efficiency industry the confidence to invest for the longer term.”

Patrick Harvie, economy and energy spokesman for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Glasgow, said the figures were a “stark reminder” of the scale of fuel poverty.

“Scottish Greens successfully persuaded SNP ministers to make energy efficient housing a National Infrastructure Priority, but we have yet to see the follow-through on the investment required. Indeed, in the last budget, the SNP cut investment in fuel poverty measures.”

Promising “bolder action” if more Green MSPs are elected, he added: “Scotland can end the scandal of cold homes, and create thousands of local jobs in the construction, heating and insulation sectors.”