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Action on Climate Change: Proposals for Improving the Energy Performance of Existing Non-domestic Buildings - A Consultation by the Scottish Government

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01 Ministerial Foreword

Climate change is having a major impact on the world we live in. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to take action now to shape the world which we will pass onto our children.

In January, the Scottish Government launched a major consultation on its ambitious proposals for a Scottish Climate Change Bill. The consultation document made clear that Scotland can play a leading role internationally in taking action on climate change as part of our vision to build a Greener Scotland. We propose to develop a long-term framework for this Government, and for successive administrations, to ensure that we reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050. This will play a key role in achieving the Scottish Government's Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth that provides prosperity and opportunities for all, while ensuring that future generations can enjoy a better quality of life too.

The Scottish Climate Change Bill will establish the strategic statutory emissions reduction targets. However, it also provides an opportunity to set the legislative framework for practical measures that will be needed to achieve those targets.

Government, business and all of the people of Scotland must be ready to rise to the challenge of climate change - and action in all sectors of society will be needed to achieve the scale of carbon emission reductions we need. Improving the energy performance of non-domestic buildings - such as our offices, factories, schools, and hospitals - will be crucial given that a significant proportion of all carbon emissions in Scotland derive from our built environment. The Sullivan Report, 'A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland', includes challenging recommendations for enhancing the energy standards in building regulations towards our goal of zero carbon new buildings. It also highlights the challenge posed by our existing buildings, which form the large majority of buildings, both now and by 2050 and which is the focus of this consultation.

We will therefore consult on proposals for measures to improve the energy performance of buildings in Scotland that will help us to meet our challenging targets for emission savings. This consultation paper focuses on measures to improve the energy performance and carbon impact of our existing non-domestic building stock.

As we strive to protect our future, we also need to respect our past. Our buildings are an important part of our cultural and historic legacy and we need to ensure that measures to address older and historical buildings are undertaken in a sensitive manner that is appropriate to traditionally constructed buildings. Older buildings represent a major investment in energy and materials that should not be relinquished.

The Scottish Government wants to encourage action on climate change by active, engaged citizens and socially responsible public sector and business organisations. However, we are setting in train a long-term strategy and - looking ahead - we recognise that the use of enforceable standards may be necessary to complement voluntary action.

We know that reaching our target and making sustained emissions reductions over the coming years will be difficult. Indeed, we also know that the people of Scotland always rise to a challenge.

Stewart Stevenson signature

Stewart Stevenson
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change