Zara Kitson, the Greens' candidate in the Dunfermline by-election, today urged Fife Council to explore how to deliver a free insulation scheme to all households in the area, drawing on existing funds from the energy companies.

Green Councillors successfully delivered a project of this sort in Huddersfield, through Kirklees Council, an area with slightly more homes than Fife, saving households around £200 per year and creating 100 jobs.

The project cost £20m over its lifetime, half of which was provided by ScottishPower through the CERT scheme.

Zara Kitson said:

"Winter is coming, and too many people in Dunfermline and across Fife are still living in damp homes with poor insulation, paying far too much in fuel bills. A free universal scheme is essential - it's much more efficient than the kind of bureaucratic and piecemeal approach we've seen so far in Scotland. Better insulation might not seem that glamorous, but it should be at the top of the political agenda. Insulation cuts people's bills overnight, and keeps them down for the long term. It's much more effective than a temporary freeze on prices, and it also boosts jobs and tackles fuel poverty and climate change.

"Back in 2009 the Green MSPs weren't able to persuade SNP Ministers to run an ambitious project of this sort for the whole of Scotland, unfortunately, and bills continue to rise. But the idea was based on a programme delivered by Green Councillors in Huddersfield which made free home insulation available to every household in the city. If SNP Ministers won't do more than tinkering at the edges of the problem, there's no reason Fife Council can't get moving without them. Every pound spent on insulation in Huddersfield returned five into the local economy, bringing in good jobs and supporting local businesses. It's exactly what Fife, and Dunfermline needs."