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The SNP government is effectively “outlawing” peat-cutting with a ban on solid fuel stoves sneaked in under new building regulations, the Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Torcuil Crichton is warning.

New building regulations which would spell and end to solid fuel heating and woodburning stoves in new-build houses, he says.

Guidance in new Scottish building standards issued this month confirms: “Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that the means by which space within the building is heated or cooled and by which hot water is made available in the building is not by means of a direct emission heating system.”

Crichton said: “The regulations are part of the SNP/Green coalition attempts to reach net zero goals by targeting wood burning stoves but completely disregard how off-grid housing on islands and rural Scotland rely on solid fuel heating, including peat and wood.”  

Isle of Eigg Comment: Banning wood-burning stoves is a disaster for us. They are a key part of our net zero by 2030 strategy. Practical & cheap to fit compared to heat pumps etc. They provide hot water in winter when solar thermal can't. Island timber harvesting provides local affordable fuel & jobs.

The Scottish government has caused outrage across the country by introducing the regulations with little or no consultation or pre-publicity, Labour says. 

The new rules forbid the use of “direct emission heating systems” and only applies to new builds.

Torcuil Crichton said: “This is another example of SNP/Green policy-making from the warmth of Edinburgh offices with complete ignorance of cold comfort it will mean for people building or converting island homes.”

“We must have missed these regulations while we were all poring over the details of Highly Protected Marine Areas, another made-in-Edinburgh, dumped-on-the-Hebrides policy which would have closed down the Western Isles fishing industry.”

Wednesday April 10: Isles MP Angus MacNeil is writing to the Scottish Government urging an immediate rethink on the ill-thought-out policy to ban wood-burning stoves in new-build properties.

Mr MacNeil said: “This legislation won’t affect existing houses or existing stoves, however there is also the concern that it could be the thin edge and in future it could be extended to more properties.

“It will affect new build property plans. Therefore, I am very certain that the Scottish Government should reverse this for rural Scotland.

“The Scottish Government haven’t thought about the effect this will have on rural and island communities and again it smacks of a party that thinks first for the big cities.

“This legislation will impact both homeowners and the local construction industry and should be changed.”

Mr Crichton added: “The regulations allow exemptions for “emergency heating systems” and we need the clarity and assurance that this applies to all new-build island homes which by their location are susceptible to power-supply interruptions.”

He said: “Left to stand these regulations will in time mean goodbye to the peat-burning stove and effectively outlaw the tradition of peat-cutting. You only cut peats for one reason - to burn them in your stove and under these regulations having a solid fuel stove in a new house will be against the law.”