Green Building Council says Scotland has abandoned its role as a leader on climate

The UK Green Building Council – which represents some of the UK’s biggest names in the built environment, including housebuilders, banks, social housing providers, local councils, developers, estates and engineering companies and universities – responds to the Scottish Government’s decision to scrap its 2030 climate target.

Simon McWhirter, Deputy Chief Executive at UKGBC said: “This decision means Scotland has lost its place as a climate leader. The scrapping of the 2030 climate target comes after significant criticism of the relative lack of progress on delivery and illustrates the faltering translation of ambition to action. This is not the political leadership that Scotland needs.

Scotland has missed eight of the 12 legally-binding annual emissions reduction targets and the hard reality of our transition to a net zero society is that the critical heavy lifting needs to be done now. The level of ambition that created the challenging 2030 waypoint is the only way to keep Scotland’s 2045 net zero target in play.

How we heat our homes and other buildings is the third largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, so we have joined other industry bodies in calling on Scottish Government to use the Heat in Buildings Bill to introduce bold, and essential, measures that will enable Scotland to realise its climate ambitions and bring us closer to our net zero and fuel poverty targets.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to take up our recommendation through the Green Heat Finance Taskforce to review how non-domestic rates relief can support and encourage investment in energy efficiency and zero direct emissions heating. We encourage the Government to also adopt the other eight recommendations that the Taskforce published in November 2023, to support the transition to clean heat.

Making deep cuts to Scotland’s emissions this decade is a ferociously difficult challenge, but now is the time for leaders to lead and step-up to face that challenge, not cower away from it. Numerous countries are successfully developing plans to improve energy efficiency, demonstrating that a rapid transition is possible. For Scotland to reclaim its climate leadership, urgent action is needed to encourage and support people to switch to clean heating and to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings, reducing fuel poverty and delivering thousands of green jobs.”