NICOLA Sturgeon has lobbied London financial heavyweights to help plug a £31 billion funding gap to decarbonise Scotland’s buildings in just eight years’ time.

The First Minister has admitted she would back her Government and UK ministers jointly drawing up “green new deals” potentially worth billions of pounds to help Scotland’s biggest cities clean up how buildings are heated by 2030.

The Scottish Government has pledged to decarbonise one million homes by 2030, but Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie has said the costs of the key policy are likely to be around £33bn.

The Scottish Government has committed that by 2033, all home will need to have an EPC rating of C or higher.

Only £1.8bn of crucial funding has been pledged by the SNP-Greens Government so far, leaving the umbrella organisation for Scottish councils, Cosla, not knowing how the policy will be delivered or where the full £33bn funding will come from.

Cosla has warned that plans will only come to fruition “if local authorities are properly resourced and have the skills in place to make the physical changes to buildings required”.

But the First Minister has told The Herald that she has appealed to financial institutions in the City of London to help play a part in funding the key Scottish Government policy.

READ MORE: Sturgeon warned £33bn for decarbonising homes will be needed by 2025

Ms Sturgeon stressed that now Scotland has “largely decarbonised our electricity supply”, the same strategy will need to be rolled out to the heating of buildings along with other sectors such as transport systems and agriculture.

Scotland has a legal commitment to cut harmful carbon emission s by 75 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030.

Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland’s biggest cities, have committed to becoming net zero, where their contribution to the climate crisis will end, by 2030 – while the national net zero target for Scotland is 2045.

The First Minister said that the ability to successfully decarbonise buildings through improved insulation and low carbon heating systems is “a significant challenge”.

She said: “We have already committed to significant funding in this parliament and we will continue to discuss, with councils, after this election, how we take forward that.

“Public funding for that is going to be really important but private funding is also going to be a big part of this.”

Last week, during a visit to London, the First Minister met with financial leaders to empress the importance of financial services in Edinburgh and London continuing to work closely together – with a focus on unlocking funding for net zero legal goals to be achieved.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I spent part of this week earlier on in London.

“Part of my discussions there with financial services companies were about their willingness and desire to invest capital in the transition to net zero, so some of the discussions were on this very topic.”

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie doesn't yet know how much of £33bn homes retrofit bill will come from private funds

The SNP leader of Edinburgh City Council, Adam McVey, has warned that not all homes in the capital are likely to have low carbon heating systems installed by the time the 2030 net zero target passes.

He has called for a “green new deal” to be set up, in a similar vein to the city and region deals drawn up by the Scottish and UK governments, in order to ensure funding is unleashed to help achieve targets.

When asked if she would support a joint funding venture between politicians at Holyrood and Westminster, the First Minister said: “On the question of encouraging the UK and the Scottish governments to come together on a green new deal, I would certainly be happy to support calls for that and to take forward discussions with the UK Government on that.

“For all our political differences, we have worked well together on city and region deals.

“If there is an appetite for that then I’m very happy to take that forward.”

Scottish Conservative net zero spokesperson, Liam Kerr said his party "warned that Patrick Harvie’s plans would be unworkable and homeowners will now presumably face an even larger bill than the £33 billion first outlined".

He added that "everyone recognises the need to work together to tackle our climate emergency", but claimed Mr McVey "would be better served by challenging his own SNP Government to match their rhetoric with action”.

But the First Minister has warned that some of the policy choices of the UK Government would make her nervous about entering into a joint strategy to ensure funding is unlocked.

In the UK Government’s new energy strategy, Conservative ministers were heavily criticised for a lack of focus on improving insulation of homes and crucially, committing more funding to retrofit buildings.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I do think there are some questionable aspects of UK Government policy in recent times that would raise a question mark in my mind about their actual commitment to this net zero commitment.

“But I would be very keen to take forward those discussions.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We have an excellent record on insulation, with the Energy Company Obligation alone delivering around 3.4 million measures in 2.4 million homes since 2013.

“We are building on that record by already investing over £6.6bn billion across the UK to decarbonise homes and buildings and bringing in higher minimum performance standards to ensure all homes meet EPC Band C by 2035.”