From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Evaluation of the Health Effects of the Scottish Executive's Central Heating Programme

The Scottish Executive Central Heating Programme was announced by First Minister Donald Dewar and Communities Minister Wendy Alexander in 2000. We collaborated with colleagues in RUHBC on an evaluation of the health impacts of the Central Heating Programme (CHP), who lead the evaluation. This work was commissioned by the Scottish Executive in 2002.

The main findings included the following:

  • Two years after installation, the SE Central Heating Programme (CHP) had no clear impact on respondents’ current health or their use of health services or medication.
  • The prevalence of poor environmental conditions – specifically, the presence of condensation, dampness and/or mould (long term exposure to which is associated with poor health) – in individual rooms within the home was significantly lower for those who received heating under the CHP than for the comparison group.
  • The CHP did not show any significant relationship with respondents’ usage of primary or secondary health services.
  • Receipt of heating via the Programme was associated with better outcomes on two dimensions of the SF-36 Health Survey questionnaire: physical functioning (i.e. fitness and mobility) and general health. However, the estimated size of the difference between recipients and non-recipients of heating was small in both cases.
  • There was no evidence to suggest that the CHP had different effects on specific subgroups, e.g. owner occupiers versus tenants or different age groups, among those who received heating.

For more information and a full copy of the report see:
The Scottish Executive Central Heating Programme: Assessing Impacts on Health - Research Findings, pdf of report.





Walker J, Mitchell R, Petticrew M, Platt S. The effects on health of a publicly-funded domestic heating programme: a prospective controlled study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2009;63:12-17

pubmed  open access  


Platt S, Mitchell R, Petticrew M, Walker J, Hopton J, Martin C, Corbett J, Hope S . The Scottish Executive Central Heating Programme: assessing impacts on health. Edinburgh, 2007


Walker JJ, Mitchell R, Platt S, Petticrew M, Hopton J. Does usage of domestic heating influence internal environmental conditions and health?. European Journal of Public Health 2006;16:463-469