PLANS to spend almost two billion pounds on net-zero heating systems in Scottish buildings have been welcomed by the Greens as energy prices are set to rise across the UK.

Proposed by Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson (below), the motion urges the Scottish Government to commit to spending £1.8bn on zero carbon buildings over the next five years.

The motion also pledges to reduce the amount of kilometres travelled by car by a fifth (20%) by 2030 as well as setting targets for species protection in a nature recovery bill.

The motion stated that the transition to a low-carbon economy and a climate-resilient Scotland "requires urgent transformational action".

It went on to say that this must be done "in a fair and just way that leaves no one, and no community, behind", and that there are "significant opportunities" for Scotland to lead the world in finding solutions.

The motion passed by 88 votes to 26.

The National: Michael Matheson said the scheme offered a 'tremendous opportunity'

During the debate on the motion in Holyrood yesterday (September 21), Matheson said that heat demand accounts for about 20% of Scotland's total emissions, adding: "At least one million Scottish homes will need to move to a net-zero heating system by 2030."

The strategy acknowledges that there are tensions between reducing emissions and ending fuel poverty due to zero-emissions heating systems costing more than higher-emission alternatives.

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Matheson said: "That is why we are committed, during the transition, to supporting the people who are least able to pay, and to protecting those who are most vulnerable to increases in costs.

"This year, we have increased funding for our energy efficiency and fuel poverty schemes by allocating a record £50m for the warmer homes Scotland programme in order to incentivise uptake of zero-carbon heating, which will benefit communities that are not served by the gas grid.

"That is also why the social housing net-zero heat fund will invest at least £100m over the next five years on supporting social housing landlords to contribute to our heat decarbonisation and fuel poverty objectives."

The National:

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The Scottish Greens have said that these plans are crucial as gas prices surge in the UK, with the party's housing spokesperson Ariane Burgess (above) saying the increase in household energy prices shows why ending fossil fuel dependency is needed.

Highlands and Islands MSP Burgess said: “The surge in gas prices is a real concern to so many people who rely on fossil fuels to heat their homes, and yet again demonstrates why we must end our dependency on volatile, unreliable and climate-destroying fossil fuels.

“That’s why Scottish Greens in government are accelerating plans to make homes across Scotland more efficient and to switch from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives. To support this, we will invest at least £1.8bn over the next five years.

“It has been galling to see Boris Johnson preach climate responsibility on the world stage while at home his government is forcing families across the Highlands and Islands into poverty and doing nothing to decarbonise heating and transport.

“We don’t have time for this kind of reckless approach which is why, with Greens in government, Scotland will take a different path.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon expresses 'extreme' concern over energy price hike

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is "extremely concerned" about the rise in energy prices as well as the impact it may have on domestic consumers.

She will be chairing a meeting of the Scottish Government committee on Wednesday to discuss the issues.

The energy price cap is set to rise by £139 a year (12%) to £1277 for a typical gas and electricity customer from October 1, while the UK Government’s “uplift” in Universal Credit, intended as a temporary measure during the coronavirus pandemic, ends on October 6. Some estimations say up to 800,000 people could be pushed into poverty.