Climate Change

Robert Burns – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27 February 2003.

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Photo of Nora Radcliffe Nora Radcliffe Liberal Democrat 2:30, 27 February 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to combat climate change. (S1O-6528)

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

We work in partnership with the United Kingdom Government to deliver an equitable contribution to the UK's Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to its domestic goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Our Scottish climate change programme sets out the policies and measures for devolved matters through which we can deliver our contribution. We are also taking action to adapt to the predicted impact of climate change. For example, capital resources for flood prevention and coast protection schemes are proposed to increase to £40 million over the next three years.

Photo of Nora Radcliffe Nora Radcliffe Liberal Democrat

In targeting energy waste and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions from poorly insulated buildings, will the Executive continue to extend the effective use of building standards regulations to improve new build and pursue vigorously ways of ensuing that existing buildings are progressively brought up to higher energy efficiency standards?

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

The member might be aware that the improved Scottish building standards, which the Executive introduced, set the highest standards for thermal insulation and energy efficiency in the UK. Those standards came into force last year and projections suggest that an energy saving of 25 per cent will be achieved for a typical new dwelling.

The member asked how we would extend that. The Building (Scotland) Bill, which the Parliament has passed, will be enacted this year. It identifies the achievement of sustainable development as the central aim of the building standards system. That will make it possible for us to create a more efficient and flexible system that is better able to deliver the objectives to which the member referred.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

The use of renewable energy is important in relation to climate change. The minister said some time ago that the Executive was having discussions with the Ministry of Defence on the ministry's veto on wind farm development in Dumfries and Galloway. What were the results of those negotiations?

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

The Executive is consulting on many matters, including the impediments to the development of renewable energy policy, following our suggestion that we should set the more ambitious target of generating 40 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We are in the closing stages of finalising that consultation, so it would be inappropriate to give details. I will respond shortly with a balanced answer about all the matters that have been raised.

Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

In the stage 3 debate on the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Bill, the minister spoke of an ad hoc ministerial group that would examine and report on flooding. Has that group reported yet? If so, what were its conclusions? If it has not produced conclusions, when will it do so?

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

The ad hoc group, which my colleague the Deputy First Minister chaired, has concluded its work and will report shortly. It examined a wide range of issues that encompass the work of departments other than my department to ensure that we make a collective response that covers the various agencies that are required to tackle the implications of flooding.