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Scottish Budget Spending Review 2007

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CHAPTER 7: A GREENER SCOTLAND

Improve Scotland's natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it.

SUMMARY

The choices and decisions we make every day as government, as businesses and as individuals impact on the environment around us. Achieving a greener Scotland depends on all of us - and will benefit us all in turn. The environment around us affects Scotland's attractiveness as a place to live and work, and our international standing and reputation. It also impacts on our health and wellbeing and our ability to access services and amenities. And, beyond Scotland, it is imperative that we play our part in tackling the global threat posed by climate change. Indeed, we intend to go further and to show the world a lead through our ambition to become a low-carbon economy.

A greener Scotland is vital to our Purpose. By making Scotland greener we will protect and enhance the natural and built environment that is so highly valued by those living, working and visiting Scotland and which underpins many of our important businesses and sectors.

With our wealth of natural resources and our excellent research base we have the potential to become one of the world's leading nations in managing our environmental impact. This represents an unparalleled opportunity to boost our economy and enhance our environment and quality of life for decades to come.

To help achieve a greener Scotland, the Scottish Government will:

  • ensure that public spending across portfolios contributes to the action needed to help mitigate climate change so that we meet the measurable statutory targets to be set through a Scottish Climate Change Bill;
  • fund initiatives by farmers and other stakeholders in the rural community to reduce climate change emissions from land management practices and to manage our rural environment more effectively, through the £1.6 billion Rural Development Programme;
  • fund a new £2 million annual Saltire Prize to inspire further innovation and a £10 million horizon prize;
  • support the delivery of ten megawatts of marine energy from our waters by 2010, helping to make Scotland the world leader in wave and tidal power; and triple the funding for community renewables and microgeneration to reach £13.5 million a year by 2010-11;
  • support local authorities as they reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill in line with EU requirements;
  • deliver increasingly high standards of environmental performance and design as we refurbish the public sector estate, including schools, hospitals and prisons, and require the same of all new buildings and investments drawing on public funds;
  • improve sustainable procurement, for example, urging all public bodies in Scotland to specify fresh, locally available, seasonal produce;
  • reduce pollution through record levels of investment in Scottish Water's £2.5 billion infrastructure programme and through providing additional funding for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency's ( SEPA) programmes addressing pollution;
  • support new Waste Management projects as part of our zero waste strategy;
  • introduce a sustainable development and climate change resource to identify new exemplar projects;
  • invest in public transport, providing £840.0m/£917.0m/£897.0m on rail and tram services and projects in Scotland, £3 million a year on travel information, £57.2 million a year to support bus services and £11 million a year on direct support for sustainable and active travel. This, along with support to local authorities will support sustainable places by reducing car dependency and increasing the proportion of people walking and cycling;
  • allocate resources from Historic Scotland's £50 million budget to undertake historic building conservation projects that will allow future generations to enjoy our historic assets too; and
  • ensure new and effective marine management arrangements in Scotland help support our marine-based industries and protect and enhance our coasts and seas through a Scottish Marine Bill.

OUR AMBITION FOR A GREENER SCOTLAND

Scotland faces increasing environmental pressures, from the global impacts of climate change to our increasing levels of consumption. We also face increasing competition for natural resources - fossil fuels, air, timber, water and land - which are already under pressure.

As a nation, we need to reduce our global and local environmental impacts. We need to take advantage of Scotland's assets - our world-renowned landscapes, renewable natural resources - and new technologies and markets, such as those for renewable energy. Our choices in addressing environmental pressures will be critical to shaping a modern, successful and sustainable Scotland, and to maintaining a quality of life which retains and attracts talented people.

That is why we will ensure that our policies and initiatives across all portfolios take full account of our ambitions for a greener Scotland, as we have in our new Government Economic Strategy, our consultation on a new housing strategy, and our commitment to introduce carbon impact assessments for policy options.

Achieving a greener Scotland will require wide public understanding. This understanding in turn needs to be translated into changes in everyday actions by us all - businesses, public sector, voluntary and community groups and individuals. Government and non-government partners will need to work together in communicating and achieving the goal, so that everyone understands how the principles of sustainable development should shape tomorrow's world and Scotland's part in it.

DELIVERING A GREENER SCOTLAND

Outcome: We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production

We want Scotland to be a leading nation in developing a sustainable way of life, reducing the impact we have on our local and global environment. That means making much greater use of our substantial renewable energy resource. It means we want to reduce the emissions from transport, housing, business, land management and other sources. And we want to improve Scotland's record on waste management and recycling. It means the whole nation becoming wiser consumers. It also requires us to continue research in our universities and colleges into ways of improving our performance in each of these areas.

We are committed to playing our part in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will work towards an ambitious target: to reduce Scotland's emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 from 1990 levels. We will research the most promising options and the economic opportunities they will present for Scotland. We will consult on legislation to establish mandatory targets and monitoring arrangements, providing a long-term statutory framework in which Scottish industries can invest with confidence in world-beating, low-carbon technologies and services.

From the start, we will reduce emissions by 2011 in line with the pathway towards reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, as determined by the forthcoming Scottish Climate Change Bill. Our planned outcome agreements will look for local authorities to contribute to this proposed statutory target, both by 2011 and by 2050.

Our drive to reduce the impact of climate change will create economic opportunities in renewable energies, from world-leading technology export and manufacturing opportunities in marine energy and deep-water offshore wind to rural jobs in biomass and renewable heat. A capital and revenue grant scheme for wave and tidal device prototypes is already in place. We will support the development of Scotland's renewable energy resources, investing in science, research, innovation and infrastructure, and identify effective incentives to encourage investment in this area. In addition, we will triple spending for community renewables and microgeneration to £13.5 million a year and encourage the recovery of woodfuel from waste, which can then be used to replace non-renewable fuels.

We also need to address the main sources of climate change emissions. For example, reducing the energy used in buildings could make a major contribution to the climate change programme - without the need for a major lifestyle change. Our consultation on a new housing strategy includes higher environmental standards for all new homes. We will build on the recommendations of the Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy and set out a clear route to our goal of zero-carbon buildings, progressively tightening the energy efficiency standards in our building regulations. The government will be the first to commit to these new standards, and we will ensure that every new building and refurbishment of a public building to which the government contributes financially, delivers high standards of environmental performance.

We must also improve energy efficiency in existing buildings. The Warm Deal/Central Heating programmes can improve the energy efficiency of homes across Scotland, as well as helping to provide warmer homes and lower fuel bills for those on low incomes.

Transport is a major source of climate change emissions, mainly through road use and now increasingly also through aviation and shipping. We will continue to support a shift in modes of transportation, including freight. We will address the environmental impacts of transport through a package of measures that promote more sustainable travel through the provision of high quality public transport, improved facilities for walking and cycling, and a range of targeted Smarter Choices and vehicle efficiency campaigns.

Scotland's soils and forests store a great deal of carbon, and managing this resource has major economic and environmental benefits. We will ensure that the Forestry Commission is able to invest £15 million a year in new woodlands as the first step in increasing forest cover to 25 per cent. We are supporting research on land use strategies to enhance the health of Scotland's soils and using funds from the £1.6 billion available to the Scotland Rural Development Programme (between 2007 and 2013) to make farming more carbon neutral and sustainable.

In recognition of the increased level of effort required within and outwith government to deliver our greener Scotland commitments, including our ambitious climate change targets, we will provide increased resources (£8.7m/£10.8m/£11.0m) for a range of sustainable development and climate change initiatives, including a new Climate Challenge Fund.

To underpin these specific funding measures we will introduce a system of cross-compliance to ensure that spending decisions use available techniques and information to assess the carbon impact of policy options during the appraisal process. In that way, decisions are based on choosing the most effective, climate change sensitive, sustainable and feasible option. We are clear that the public sector should take the lead, working to develop the market, demonstrating feasibility to the private sector and helping emerging markets to mature. The outcome agreements with local authorities will reflect this approach, so that the whole public sector starts to reduce emissions, as this will be required as a matter of law by the Scottish Climate Change Bill, once enacted.

Emissions are not the only way in which we impact on our environment - we should also minimise the materials and energy we waste, moving towards a 'zero-waste' society. We are supporting local authorities in developing a strategy for increasing recycling, and we are taking forward measures aimed at preventing waste. Local authorities will also deliver our EU obligations to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill.

Sustainable procurement and consumption has an important role to play in reducing waste. For example, our food strategy will place a new emphasis on healthy, sustainable local food. As part of this work, we will create a greater awareness of the environmental efficiency of the food supply chain so that consumers know how far their food has travelled and where it comes from before reaching the shelves. And we will work with producers to reduce unnecessary food and packaging waste.

In many markets, the public sector is a substantial purchaser in its own right. We can help influence markets, encourage the development of greener goods and services, and demonstrate our commitment by ensuring that the public sector in Scotland pays full and appropriate regard to the environmental consequences of the goods and services it buys and provides.

Outcome: We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need

Sustainable places support people in greener, more active lives. They are places where homes and workplaces are conveniently located, reducing the need to travel by car and helping to make walking, cycling and outdoor recreation realistic and attractive options. They are places which harness new technologies, such as lower carbon buildings and they are attractive, well-designed places - urban and rural - which support physical and mental health and wellbeing by encouraging physical activity and providing ease of access.

In our Housing Green Paper we set out proposals for a Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative to encourage the development of new, sustainable communities that are sympathetic to Scotland's landscape and environment. Our work on building standards will contribute to this, ensuring that new developments adopt better environmental standards.

High quality new buildings, such as housing, schools and workplaces, will be added in ways that enhance the existing historic environment. Our programmes to improve the quality of Scotland's housing stock and the successful regeneration of Scotland's most deprived communities will contribute to creating sustainable communities as well as being greener. And we will challenge the public and private sectors and communities themselves to drive up standards for planning and the design and maintenance of the built and natural environment. The goal is good quality, energy-efficient building set in well-managed, accessible green and open space - urban design good enough for future generations to thank us for delivering the conservation areas of the future.

We will promote the expansion of environmental volunteering across Scotland, to involve people more in improving their own communities, and we will work with local authorities to maximise the opportunities for everyone to be more active in safe, appealing environments in their own communities.

Sustainable places also contribute to sustainable economic growth: Scotland's reputation for the quality of its urban and rural environments is an important factor in attracting and retaining people with the skills and talent we need to build a successful Scotland. Our investment in public transport, and the higher building standards we will introduce, will help us reduce carbon emissions and congestion, ensuring that businesses can keep operating and moving goods in sustainable ways. Our investments in the green economy, including renewable energy, are central to the future prosperity of our rural areas.

Outcome: We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations

Scotland's environment is a major asset to us all. We depend on our natural resources and our natural and built environments for creating wealth and economic opportunity - for example in our fishing, farming, forestry, aquaculture and tourism industries. We depend on the quality of the environment to support and protect public health and wellbeing, through the quality of our air, water and soils. We also depend on the built and natural environments as our core infrastructure, providing the places we live and work in and the connections between them.

Scotland's environment is a rich blend of biodiversity, geology, historic and cultural heritage. Our landscapes are not living museums - they need careful management to ensure that they can continue to be places where people live, work and prosper, and places that people enjoy.

Rural development contracts under Scotland's Rural Development Programme will help farmers, crofters and others to conserve, enhance and manage our rural environment. We will respect the distinctive nature of more remote Scottish communities by tailoring future regulation and public support for crofting more closely to the wider benefits of its unique contribution to the wellbeing and social cohesion of rural Scotland.

Scottish marine and water environments are priceless assets and vital rural industries are dependent on them. Scotland has one of the longest coastlines in Europe and some of the richest and most productive fishing grounds in the world. This considerable natural resource helps provide food and green energy - and other benefits like high-value tourism. We will introduce Scottish marine legislation, to ensure the sustainable management of our seas and coasts and to balance the competing interests for use and protection of the sea. Scottish Water's record level of investment of £2.5 billion is essential to securing critical improvements in the water quality of rivers and lochs throughout Scotland. SEPA has a key role in ensuring protection of the environment through its regulatory and advisory work linked to legislation on air and water quality, industrial pollution and the control of radioactive materials.

We will also implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, moving towards a wider ecosystem approach to nature conservation and working to reduce the risks and impacts of invasive, non-native species in Scotland. Our investment in increasing and managing Scotland's forest and woodland resources will contribute to this.

We will raise awareness and understanding of our natural environment through projects like the Forest Education Initiative, and we will continue to deliver work on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development with a particular emphasis on further and higher education. Our schools can help produce the environmentally-conscious citizens of the future - through the curriculum, initiatives such as the Eco Schools programme, and the ways in which they use their buildings and land as teaching resources.

Our built environment has an impressive heritage, and we will work with our built and natural heritage partners to preserve this as part of the future fabric of Scottish towns and cities. Protecting and managing the environment in this way will ensure that people in Scotland can enjoy our historical, built and natural landscapes now and in the future. We will promote the responsible use and enjoyment of this asset, encouraging greater public access to and involvement in Scotland's natural and built environments.

Outcome: We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive national identity

Our work to protect and enhance our environment is vital in giving Scotland a sense of itself, and the world a sense of Scotland. Landscapes and cityscapes are at the heart of the Scottish identity, symbolising how Scots feel about their country and how others view Scotland. To reinforce Scotland's distinctive global image of stunning landscapes and iconic buildings, we will promote our natural and historic built environments and develop Scotland as a green tourism destination. This, in turn, will create increased economic opportunities in some of our more remote and rural communities.

Events that draw on our landscapes and heritage, such as Burns' Night and the Edinburgh Festivals, have long helped to foster the sense of cultural identity that is core to our wellbeing and belonging. We will continue to fund VisitScotland and the other cultural bodies maintaining our distinctive national monuments and collections, arts and landscape.

We will support Scotland's diverse communities in exploring and celebrating their cultural identity and heritage and we will look to maximise access to cultural opportunities which draw on the relationship between our communities and our unique land and cityscapes. We will make constant and clear links between environmental sustainability and our cultural health and encourage an understanding of and involvement in our environment through the celebration of our culture and heritage.