Commercial Property News

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Wednesday, March 28, 2024

Can Scotland rise to the climate change challenge?

The scale of the challenge facing three major Scottish cities has been highlighted in a unique report launched by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland (RICS Scotland).

'City Climate Challenge: your city, your responsibility' examines the key challenges for Edinburgh's transport network, Glasgow's energy supply and energy demand in Inverness. By comparing current levels with UK targets to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, the results give a dramatic insight into how our cities could look in the future, for example:

Edinburgh: 57 500 fewer cars on the road or a 35% reduction in the average distance driven by 2050.

Glasgow: 1,344 wind turbines or 35 Glendoe Hydro Schemes will be needed to supply energy for Glasgow alone based on the city's current usage

Inverness: every building will have to perform to the highest standards of energy efficiency to just meet the 60% cut, based on half the city's current growth rate.

The findings reinforce the need for urgent action at national and local level to find different transition pathways to a low carbon city of the future.

Director of RICS Scotland, Graeme Hartley, said: "The built environment affects every aspect of the way that we live and work, and therefore commands a huge influence over carbon emissions and climate change. We need strong leadership from Government and joined-up policies that will make the most of the planning, transport and construction expertise that already exists.

"This report proves it would be foolish to sit back and hope that technology will solve the problem. Doing nothing is not an option. The questions are how much we will do, and how quickly."

The research has highlighted a worrying lack of available data on the built environment - such as the number and types of buildings, usage and floor space. This will make it difficult to set benchmark standards, draw meaningful comparisons and chart the progress of reducing emissions. RICS Scotland believes that without this information, our towns and cities will struggle to understand the scale of the challenge affecting them and 'how much less' they need to achieve in real terms. A unified system of measurement and data capture is needed across all local authorities in Scotland to enable this information to be collated.

Launching the report RICS President, Graham Chase, said: "Scotland is a country with a strong history in innovation and technological advancement. Now, more than ever, we need to harness the significant experience of our professionals, businesses and universities in order to shape the cities of the future and meet our carbon reduction commitments. This is not just about figures and targets: it affects the choices we make, the lives we live and the legacy that we want to leave for future generations."