A FUNDING boost of £17.6 million for research into climate-friendly heating solutions and securing a Scottish supply chain will create “social, environmental and economic” value, Patrick Harvie has said.

The zero carbon buildings minister set out a plan on Friday to grow the green heating sector in Scotland which will focus on creating more manufacturing and skilled green jobs to boost the economy.

The latest announcement is part of a £33 billion scheme to decarbonise heating across Scotland. There are around one million homes and more than 50,000 non-domestic buildings which will need to transition to green heating by 2030.

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The plan to grow the supply chain in the green heating industry includes a new mobile training centre for heat pump installation, and there will also be a dedicated programme to raise awareness within the industry about the transition to green heating. There will also be a review of what support can be given for green skills and training.

Harvie visited the Vaillant Group’s National Training Centre of Excellence in Eurocentral, North Lanarkshire, where he told The National that reducing emissions from Scotland’s building stock will form a large part of achieving the government’s net zero targets but it also has a number of other benefits.

As well as the economic benefits of keeping the supply chain of heat pumps and green heating systems in Scotland, Harvie added that “it's about a connection to place as well”.

The Scottish Greens minister said that a “strong, skilled supply chain” will be a central part of the delivery of the programme.

He said: “Especially for some of the remote rural and island communities where there's a real question about trust.

“People have been stung in the past by you know having folk coming in, offering them a cheap deal, doing it to a shoddy standard and then never being seen again.

“We need to make sure that bad practice is driven out of the industry.

“We need to be working with those who are not only building their skills, but building trust with communities as well so that they know the work will be done to a high standard and that they'll get the real benefit of that.

“So it's about the social value, it's about the environmental value and the economic value to Scotland.”

Stephanie Callaghan, SNP MSP who also attended the visit with Harvie, said that communication with the public and industry to understand that the technology is tried and tested will be key going forward.

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She told The National: “It's not just things that have been pulled out of the sky, actually this technology has been used in other countries, it's embedded, it works.

"We know it works, that all the evidence is there for it as well, but it's working with organisations and getting that message out to communities that actually this is the way forward, this is the way ahead, this is the right thing to be doing.”

Harvie’s visit came as the Scottish Government published a delivery plan for supply chains for the ground-breaking heating strategy.

In the report titled Towards an Industry for Green Heat, it noted that there were two barriers to growth. Firstly, that there was a lack of clear demand for the products from the public, and secondly, that the lack of a supply chain is a barrier to increasing the “pace and scale of deployment”.

Harvie told The National that the issue comes from the Scottish Government setting the conditions that will generate demand, adding: “This isn't going to happen by magic.”

He said: “By regulating and by setting clearly a path to doing that over a number of years will generate the demand not only for these installations, but also generate demand from within the industry to learn the skills to install them, and by doing that, hopefully, we'll get there.

“We'll decarbonize Scotland's buildings and will help to hit Scotland's climate targets.”

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The Scottish Greens minister added that Scotland is already being credited for its ambitious approach to heating solutions, adding that the UK Government should be taking a “leaf out of Scotland’s book”.

He added: “There's a huge shift away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable zero carbon heating systems.

“It is a huge challenge the whole world is taking it on, but if Scotland wants to be a first mover and get the benefits of being an early adopter we need to really follow through with a level of ambition that the Scottish Government's already set.”