The Scottish Executive has established an expert panel to recommend measures to make houses and buildings in Scotland more energy efficient. It is hoped that the panel will help new-build houses in the region to meet the same rigorous standards that exist in Scandinavia, allowing householders to significantly reduce their energy use and energy bills.

The panel will bring together designers, developers, contractors, assessors and researchers with experts from Norway, Denmark and Austria who have experience of the strict energy standards in their home countries.

Scotland’s climate change minister, Stewart Stevenson, said: I am asking the expert panel to develop a strategy that will allow us to set targets to deliver even greater energy efficiency in our buildings and ensure that more buildings can generate their own energy.

The Scottish Executive also revealed that applications have been invited for the chair and members of a new UK committee on climate change. The committee will play a crucial role in advising us of the emerging science of climate change and how best to reduce emissions. We need expert analysis which is clear, transparent and independent of government, Mr Stevenson commented.

The committee will bring together experts from climate science and policy, economics, business competitiveness and financial management. It will draw on existing information and undertake its own analysis to provide expert advice to Scottish and UK ministers to help reach the UK target of a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Mr Stevenson added: In Scotland, we will consult on proposals for a Scottish climate change bill, which will set the ambitious target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. This will put Scotland at the front of the global fight against climate change.