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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 15:51 GMT
Climate change warning for cities
Traffic in Princes Street, Edinburgh
The report said 60,000 cars would need to be removed from Edinburgh
Scotland's cities will have to make major changes to meet climate change targets, according to a report.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Scotland said Glasgow may need hundreds of wind turbines or more nuclear power.

It also said Edinburgh may have to remove a third of cars from its streets.

Meanwhile, Jack McConnell said all new building developments will have to make big cuts in their carbon emissions.

As part of new planning guidance, the first minister said developers will have to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 15% - on top of reductions already required by new building regulations.

The bottom line is that we will not have an environment to protect if we do not take action on climate change
Jack McConnell
First Minister

Mr McConnell announced the move at the Scottish Renewables annual conference in Glasgow.

He said: "No other country in the UK has gone so far but this is just a first step. We will look to increase this condition in the future."

The first minister added: "We know that a balance must be struck between protecting our natural heritage and giving the go-ahead to new renewable schemes.

"But the bottom line is that we will not have an environment to protect if we do not take action on climate change."

Climate challenges

The new planning guidance comes into immediate effect and will affect new applications submitted to councils from now - but not those already in the pipeline.

All new public and private developments of more than 500 square metres will be covered.

The RICS has produced different scenarios for different cities to draw attention to the climate challenges.

It commissioned research which suggested that, if nothing else changes, 1,300 large wind turbines, two nuclear power plants or three dozen hydro-electric plants may be needed to reduce carbon emissions in Glasgow.

In Edinburgh they looked at pollution from transport and suggested that to help meet a UK Government target of a 60% reduction in CO2 by 2050, almost 60,000 cars would have to be removed from the roads.

Car exhaust
The UK Government seta target of a 60% reduction in CO2 by 2050

In Inverness the researchers concentrated on energy efficiency and found that every home would have to meet the current best standards.

Even then the city would only be able to expand at half its projected rate.

Graham Hartley, director of the RICSS, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that their report had been based on the government's own targets.

Mr Hartley said they looked at the implications a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions would have on Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness in terms of transport, energy consumption and buildings.

He said: "There's actually no house being built at the moment that meets those targets, never mind the existing housing stock, so doing nothing is not the option.

"What we hope is that the government will engage with us as chartered surveyors because we are the profession with the skills to help achieve these targets."

RICSS has called for clearer energy bills to show consumption and CO2 implications, better house design and more work to improve existing stock.

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