The Government's clear purpose and overarching aim is to create a more prosperous Scotland by increasing the rate of sustainable economic growth. The Government Economic Strategy sets specific indicators towards achieving this aim including increasing the rate of new housebuilding, reducing our ecological footprint, increasing the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport, increasing renewable energy production, reducing waste, and improving perceptions, attitudes and awareness of Scotland's reputation.
Creating sustainable communities, where people can live and work in attractive, healthy and accessible environments, can also assist in the achievement of all of these aims. The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative sets the bar high, encouraging landowners, developers, and the people of Scotland to work together to create places where a better quality of life is achievable now and for the long term. The Scottish Government is committed to creating an enduring legacy of high quality, distinctive new development which meets people's needs and aspirations today, protects and enhances the unique natural and built heritage of our country and contributes to a more sustainable future.
Climate change sets a challenging context for all future development. Scotland's communities, old and new, will have to adapt to the impacts and play their part in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Weâ€ˆare committed to introducing a Scottish Climate Change Bill which will embed a more sustainable way of thinking and create certainty to support investment in new technologies, as we move Scotland towards a low-carbon economy. To deliver our emissions reduction targets more environmentally responsible development must become the norm, designed to higher standards and capable of minimising impacts on the environment, whilst also adapting to the unavoidable consequences of changes to our climate.
Scotland has a close affinity with our neighbours around the North Sea, with shared challenges in designing built environments suitable for climates that vary from cold, wet and windy to warm and sunny. Countries such as Finland, Sweden and Denmark provide examples of innovative approaches to development which demonstrate high environmental building standards. We can learn from this experience and develop a Scottish response. There are a number of potential benefits: for property owners and occupiers through reduced energy costs and adaptability, for the environment through reduced negative effects, and for the housebuilding industry through creation of a modern, attractive and marketable product.
The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative aims to bring innovation into our settlements and promote exemplars of how communities could live in future. We hope Local Authorities, landowners and developers are inspired to play their part and contribute to the future sustainable growth of Scotland. We invite you to be among the first to take the necessary steps now and submit proposals which lead the way in the development of new sustainable communities.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth