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Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has today (Thursday April 18) demanded the Scottish Government provide clarity on the ban on wood burning stoves which began at the start of April.

The ban on new-build properties installing wood burners and other direct emissions heating systems was brought in with a raft of other new building standards at the start of this month.

There has been widespread confusion on what exemptions are in place with protests from islands and remote rural areas who have been dependent on this sort of heating, and who demand to know what impact assessment was carried out.

Scottish Labour Rural Affairs, Islands and Land Reform Spokesperson Rhoda Grant MSP stated:“There is a desperate need for clarity on the new rules of this ban. I have been inundated with requests from constituents across rural Scotland who are concerned the Scottish Government are taking away heating systems that are relied upon, not as a superficial accessory in the home, but as an important secondary heating source. In many cases, wood burning stoves are used for practical means of heating homes in rural Scotland.

"Storms can knock out power in islands and rural communities for days at a time, as we saw in the winter just passed. Taking away the ability to burn wood or peat during a power cut will leave many households anxious when the lights begin to flicker and there is no back up to heat the house.”

Rhoda Grant has written to the Scottish Government seeking clarity on the new building standards and called for the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Patrick Harvie to provide detail on who can apply for exemptions to the ban, in addition to how the SNP-Green Government came to the decision on the ban and what impact assessments were carried out.

In the Scottish Parliament on 16 April, Patrick Harvie stated that exemptions can be given but did not give detail on what criteria would need to be met, instead stating that flexibility will be necessary for certain circumstances.

Rhoda Grant has sought more explanation from the SNP-Green Government:

“There needs to be clear, unambiguous reassurances from Patrick Harvie on what exemptions will be granted on these rules. I have written to him expressing the great need to provide assurances to homeowners urgently on this matter.

"This regulation is poorly thought out and the communication has been even worse. This is an example of central-belt policy where considerations of rural homeowners have gone up in smoke – ironically, unlike their woodpiles.”