We have a new website go to gov.scot

Review of Scotland's Cities - The Analysis

Listen

Review of Scotland's Cities - The Analysis

7.2.3 Energy Consumption

Energy inefficiency in Scotland's housing stock is obviously wasteful and makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (including Carbon Dioxide (CO 2)) which exacerbate climate change, and increases consumption of non renewable fuels, and expenditure on heating. About 30% of Scottish carbon emissions are attributable to supplying hot water to, and heating buildings. Scottish housing, via energy consumption, currently emits about 12 million tonnes of CO 2 per year - an average of almost 5.5 tonnes per dwelling. An important part of the Scottish Climate Change Programme, therefore, was the introduction of new Scottish building regulations, which set significantly higher standards for insulation and energy efficiency. Those standards are currently the most demanding in the UK; and Communities Scotland now demands higher standards for developments that it finances. However, new build accounts for only 1% of the Scottish housing stock in any one year. If greenhouse gases are to be significantly reduced in a shorter timeframe, then action needs to be directed towards our existing stock in all tenures.

Table 7.3 shows the National Home Energy Ratings (NHER) for the housing stock in the five cities, where the NHER score is a measure of how energy efficient a building is. The latest available data is from the 1996 Scottish Housing Condition Survey (SHCS), which is based on a 10% sample of the housing stock. The results of the 2002 survey will not be available until 2003. It is possible that some progress will have been made in improving the energy efficiency of housing stocks since 1996 and that further progress will be made in the future, not least as a result of the Glasgow Housing Stock Transfer. In the last three and half years, across Scotland, the Executive has improved insulation in over 140,000 homes, demolished a proportion of the stock with 0 to 2 NHER scores and installed over 10,000 central heating systems.

In 1996, the representative sample from the SHCS found that less than 10% of the housing stock in each city had an NHER score of between 7 and 10, roughly the standard required by the new building regulations, and in each city a significant minority of the stock was rated as poor with scores below 2. The condition of the housing stock is more polarised in the cities than in Scotland as a whole, with the proportion of the stock rated as poor in Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen being greater than the Scottish average, while all of the cities (except Inverness) have a greater proportion of their stock rated as good. This suggests that, although some progress has been made in improving the energy efficiency of the existing stock in recent years (particularly in the local authority and social rented sectors), much remains to be done. Improving home energy conservation still represents a real challenge in our cities.

Evidence from the Scottish Housing Condition Survey suggests that problems may be relatively greater in rural areas - where average home energy ratings are 3.6 (compared to 4.2 in the cities). Disparities are even greater in the older stock (pre 1919) where average ratings are 3.0 and 4.2 respectively.

TABLE 7.3: Dwelling Condition (% of stock)

NHER (0-2) poor
NHER (3-6) moderate
NHER (7-10) good

Aberdeen

18

72

9

Dundee

27

65

7

Edinburgh

15

75

9

Glasgow

20

68

9

Inverness

14

78

5

Scotland

17

76

7

Source: 1996 Scottish Household Condition Survey

The SHCS also suggests that there are significant numbers of poor people occupying low energy efficient housing. The quality of life of these poorer households would be significantly improved if their homes were more efficiently insulated and heated. Improved energy efficiency has been proven to reduce levels of dampness and condensation, improve health, reduce expenditure on fuel and release income for other purposes. Tackling home energy efficiency will therefore contribute to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and environmental injustice, as well as making an important contribution to the Scottish Climate Change Programme: it therefore represents a challenge both in terms of social justice, and environmental sustainability.

The Scottish Executive recently published its fuel poverty statement, 65 setting out a programme of action to tackle fuel poverty (including action to improve home energy efficiency) and a series of targets and milestones towards eradicating fuel poverty by 2016. The statement sets out what housing improvement measures have taken place since the 1996 Housing Condition Survey, and what others are planned. Yet although significant improvements have been achieved, or are planned in the public housing sector, for example through the Glasgow Housing Stock Transfer, the link between fuel poverty and energy efficiency is indirect.

The current central heating programme, for example, even though it is accompanied by improved insulation, may help to tackle fuel poverty, but it may not reduce fuel consumption, because householders may enjoy higher levels of comfort for the same energy consumption. It should be noted however that these programmes do save energy by ensuring that the minimum amount of energy is lost - central heating is the most energy and cost effective way to heat a home and better insulation limits heat escaping. In effect, attempts to tackle fuel poverty improve the living standard of the poorest Scots at no additional energy cost. The stock transfer programme offers a real opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of the social rented sector, though it will be important for energy efficiency to be properly reflected in the programme of works proposed by Rented Social Landlords (RSLs) and reflected in business plan evaluations. The Glasgow Housing Stock Transfer proposals, for example, set out the Glasgow Standard, which include a significant commitment to energy efficiency measures. Communities Scotland's recently approved policy on Sustainable Development requires all RSLs to develop their own sustainable development policy. It also commits the agency to monitor CO 2 release and energy and water consumption "in use".

In the private sector the economic incentives for property owners to invest in higher insulation standards are weak because:

  • In comparison to other property and neighbourhood factors, it is barely reflected in property values;
  • Lower fuel charges resulting from deregulation have weakened the incentive to reduce consumption;
  • Property owners rarely know the energy efficiency of their property;
  • The average owner moves within 7 years and is unlikely to invest unless they can recoup capital outlay through savings on fuel over that timeframe.

If we want to significantly reduce CO 2 emissions from our housing stock then consideration needs to be given to how better incentives and information might be provided to private owners. The Housing Improvement Task Force is considering some of these issues. Additionally, the European Directive on energy labelling, which enforces energy efficiency standards on larger buildings such as office blocks and flats, should also contribute to tackling this issue.

It should also be recognised that investment programmes to tackle energy efficiency (and other environmental challenges) would create jobs. There is no reason why some of these jobs should not be taken up in deprived communities. The Executive's Warm Deal initiative, for example, has both created New Deal opportunities and training infrastructure, such as a training centre for gas fitters in Easterhouse, Glasgow. Considerable investment will be needed if the housing stock in the five cities is to make a significant contribution to the sustainability of our cities. Consideration needs to be given to where efforts to tackle problems should be focused, and the implications for investment and planning decisions for city housing markets.

7.2.4 Transport

In 1999, some 14% of Scottish CO 2 emissions originated from transport, over 90% of which are from road transport. Exhaust fumes also contain air pollutants, most of which affect human health and some of which are carcinogenic. The amount of pollution caused by transport will be proportionate to the modal split of trips; for most pollutants public transport, and especially rail, will cause much less pollution per passenger-kilometre than car use, and walking and cycling cause none. A high level of car dependence in our cities will therefore impose a larger environmental burden on the local and global environment.

Table 7.4 shows the modal split of commuting trips for the five cities for 1991 and 1999. The position in 1991 for all five cities was one of a high degree of car dependence, with almost 50% of commuting to Aberdeen and Inverness, and around 40% for Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow, being by drivers with no accompanying passengers. Since 1991 levels of car dependence for commuting in all the cities have remained roughly the same but the use of buses has fallen and walking has increased. However, due to the overall increase in travel to and within the cities ( see Chapter 6) commuting is becoming on balance less sustainable.

TABLE 7.4: Mode of travel to work by city residents 1991-1999 (%)

Walk

Drive

Car share

Motor- cycle

Cycle

Bus

Train

Aberdeen

1991

14

47

7

1

2

21

0

1999

21

46

10

1

3

16

0

Dundee

1991

14

43

11

0

1

24

1

1999

19

41

15

1

1

20

1

Edinburgh

1991

14

40

6

0

2

31

1

1999

20

40

6

0

4

27

1

Glasgow

1991

13

35

7

0

1

31

8

1999

18

39

9

0

1

23

7

Inverness

1991

15

47

10

1

6

11

1

Sources: 1991 Census and 1999 Scottish Household Survey
Note: 1999 figures includes travel to educational institutions by adults and is not comparable to 1991 figure
No data available for Inverness 1999

Comparisons with other European cities are not favourable. As discussed in Chapter 6 (Table 6.5) European cities exhibit higher levels of walking and cycling, some higher levels of public transport use, and lower levels of car use.

A city that... has better quality public transport, and in which walking is safe and practical, will be a more equal and socially sustainable city.

Furthermore, levels of car ownership are generally higher in other European cities than in Scottish cities, but car use actually lower. This is possibly due to a greater past emphasis on public transport, combined with more compact cities with a higher degree of land use mix. These latter factors make public transport more viable and walking a more feasible option.

Patterns of transport use also raise important equity issues since car ownership is skewed towards upper income groups, and lower income households are generally more dependent on walking and public transport. A city that is less car dependent and has better quality public transport, and in which walking is safe and practical, will be a more equal and socially sustainable city.

The most direct environmental impact of transport is on air quality. Considerable progress has been made in tackling air quality in recent years, largely due to improvements in car and bus emission technology. All Scottish Local Authorities were required to review and assess air quality in their area by the end of 2001. This exercise has shown that whilst air quality is generally good there are pockets of lower air quality in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, due to transport related nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Charts 7.3 to 7.6 show concentrations of the key transport-related pollutants in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Monitoring sites have been operating in these two cities for a number of years as part of the national air quality monitoring network. New monitoring sites have been established in Aberdeen and Inverness, commencing operation in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

chart

Atmospheric lead concentrations have fallen steadily since 1980 as a result of the introduction of unleaded petrol and are now well below the Air Quality Strategy (AQS) objective which has to be achieved by 2008.

chart

The record on particulate pollution (PM 10) is not so good and levels have fallen only marginally since 1992 in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Road transport accounts for 20% of PM 10 emissions, but can account for over 70% of emissions in urban areas. Levels are however below the objective set in the AQS to be achieved by the end of 2004. In 2002 the Scottish Executive set a new, tighter objective for PM 10 (an annual mean of 18g/m 3) to be achieved by the end of 2010. This new objective will encourage significant further reductions in air pollution and improvements in health. Local authorities are now required to work towards achieving this new objective by 2010.

chart

Over half of nitrogen dioxide emissions in urban areas are derived from road transport. The AQS objective is unlikely to be met in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen by the end of 2005 without further action being taken to tackle pollution from road transport. As a result all three city councils have been required to declare Air Quality Management areas and draw up action plans outlining how they intend to work towards achieving the nitrogen dioxide objective.

chart

Carbon monoxide (CO) levels in the atmosphere have reduced substantially since 1990 mainly due to the introduction of catalytic converters and the 2001 CO 2 concentrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh were only 55-75% of the 2002 revised AQS permissible level.

It is therefore clear that traffic reductions would have direct and beneficial effects on air quality in Scottish cities, particular NO 2 and PM 10, with related advantages for the health of city inhabitants. Furthermore, reductions in road traffic, and in particular reductions in car use, would also decrease fuel consumption, contribute to efforts to tackle climate change, ease congestion, save the public and businesses money and make our cities more pleasant places in which to live and work.

The Executive is already taking action to reduce car dependency in Scotland and to promote the use of alternatives to the car for all forms of passenger trips. To date the major cities have been some of the major beneficiaries of public transport improvement schemes and attempts to 'plan out' travel and promote sustainable forms of travel.

However, despite recent action, our cities still present a major challenge to be tackled in terms of passenger travel. Our cities are likely to increasingly become the focus of employment opportunities and commuting patterns. They will remain the focus of travel for retail and leisure purposes, and the most popular destinations for tourist travel.

A key challenge is therefore to promote and make more accessible alternative, more sustainable forms of travel. The publication of "Scotland's Transport: Delivering Improvements" by the Scottish Executive recognises this and provides a framework for tackling the key problem areas: tackling congestion, improving accessibility and improving integration. But all parties must continue to focus their efforts on reducing the environmental impact of travel in and around our cities and on planning to accommodate future travel growth. More detailed discussion of transport and travel issues can be found in Chapter 6.

7.2.5 Ecological Footprint Analysis of Scottish Cities66

Individual measures of our cities' sustainability are of course useful in generating a picture of how well our cities are performing. But it is sometimes difficult to obtain an overall impression of how well any one of our cities is performing in comparison with the others, and with cities from elsewhere, from a series of individual measures. The review team therefore decided to commission Best Foot Forward Ltd to produce one composite measure of the sustainability of each city, thereby enabling an assessment of whether our cities are consuming more or less of their 'fair share', and thus whether their impact on the global environment is 'sustainable' in the longer term. The study included all five cities; however the footprint for Inverness is not considered here. Due to lack of data for Inverness, it is not considered a robust reflection of the city's impact on the environment

The methodology chosen was Ecological Footprint Analysis (see Box). Although this method has the advantage of providing an overview of individual city performance, it should be noted that any model that aggregates diverse ecological pressures is necessarily complex; assumptions contained within the model and/or inaccuracies in the data can potentially be both compounded and obscured. The robustness of the final figures must therefore be treated with caution. This caveat aside, the ecological footprints do provide a basis for stimulating discussion.

What is Ecological Footprint Analysis?

Co-originated in the early 90's by Professor William Rees and Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, Ecological Footprint Analysis is now in common use in many countries; for example, Wales, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain and Australia. The Ecological Footprint of a region or community is defined as the bioproductive area (land and sea) that would be required to sustainably maintain current consumption, using prevailing technology.

Imagine a glass dome over Dundee - what area would this dome have to cover to ensure that the City's population could maintain their current lifestyles using only the bioproductive space within the dome?

For the purposes of the Ecological Footprint calculation, land and sea area is divided into four basic types; bioproductive land, bioproductive sea, energy land (forested land and sea area required for the absorption of carbon emissions) and built land (buildings, roads etc.). A fifth type refers to the area of land and water that would need to be set-aside to preserve biodiversity.

FIGURE 7.1: Land types used for Ecological Footprint Analysis

diagram


The Responsibility Principle... encourages those directly responsible to account for their own consumption.


Example 1: A cooked meal of fish and rice would require bioproductive land for the rice, bioproductive sea for the fish, and forested 'energy' land to re-absorb the carbon emitted during the processing and cooking.

Example 2: Driving a car requires built land for roads, parking, and so on, as well as a large amount of forested 'energy' land to re-absorb the carbon emissions from petrol use. In addition, energy and materials are used for construction and maintenance.

(More information on Footprint Analysis can be found at www.ecologicalfootprint.com)

Before any footprint analysis can be undertaken it must first be decided what boundaries should be placed on the study and what should be included and what excluded. Two broad approaches to footprint analysis exist. The first attempts to measure all consumption that takes place within a certain geographical area (known as the Geographical Principle), while the second only considers consumption that is attributable to those living within a geographic area (the Responsibility Principle).

The Responsibility Principle is favoured by WWF and was preferred for this study because it is more commonly used and encourages those directly responsible to account for their own consumption. The analysis was limited to the city authorities due to time and resource constraints (although it is acknowledged that as such it is not possible to consider the 'true' footprint of the 'functional' city-region). If a footprint analysis of the wider city-region had been undertaken it is quite likely that the results produced, and the league table of cities shown below, would have been somewhat different. A more comprehensive study to determine a footprint for Scotland has recently been launched with support from the Scottish Executive.

Best Foot Forward collected and collated existing data on resource (energy and materials) consumption to determine the city footprints. In some instances data was already available in a form that could be used directly (for example, household waste data is available for each city) while in others data had to be derived or proxied from national sources or from data which does not directly measure what is required (for example, domestic electricity consumption was determined by applying national sectoral percentages to city totals provided by the two main electricity supply companies - necessary because no breakdown could be supplied for each city due to commercial confidentiality).

Table 7.5 shows what level of data was used for each of the main consumption areas (energy, passenger transport, household waste, food and water) for Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow that together make up the overall footprint.

TABLE 7.5: Data use by geographical source

UK Data

All Scotland Data

Scottish Regional Data

City Specific Data

Domestic Energy +

X

Commercial Energy +

X

Passenger Travel *

X

Food

X

Built Land

X

Household Waste?

X

Commercial Waste

X

Water

X

* Note 1: Car and bus travel data is city-specific. Other passenger travel data is based on Scottish averages except Air and Ferry which is UK-based.
+ Note 2: Electricity data is city-specific but UK data has been used to determine split between commercial, industrial and domestic sectors. Postcodes have been used to estimate gas data and sectoral breakdown.
Source: Best Foot Forward (2002) Five Cities Footprint

Nevertheless, the footprint analysis provides, for the first time, a composite indicator of the 'sustainability' of Scotland's cities, which permits benchmarking of our cities' performance against other cities and regions that have been, or may in the future be, subject to comparable footprint analysis. This provides a basis upon which the Executive, and the cities themselves, can build. The review team would encourage both to debate the issues identified by the footprints.