The Scottish Government’s update to its Climate Change Plan for 2018 to 2032 has been broadly welcomed by industry stakeholders.
The strategy, which had been due in April, set out more than 100 new policies and proposals to support Scotland’s green recovery and help deliver the ambitious framework of climate targets enshrined in Scotland’s Climate Change Act 2019.
Morag Watson, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “The commitment to ensuring Scotland has a flexible, responsive electricity system powered by renewables is good news, as is a pledge to reduce time scales for granting planning consent for complex electricity generation and energy transmission infrastructure upgrades.
“We are also pleased to see the introduction of a framework of support to deliver a step-change in emerging technologies and support the commercialisation of renewable energy generation, storage and supply.”
The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) welcomed the publication, noting that it reflected many of the proposals outlined in its recent Manifesto for Clean Growth .
SCDI chief executive Sara Thiam said: “Our vision is for Scotland to be a world leader in Clean Growth, which delivers for people, for our economy and for our planet – to achieve that will require a significant collaborative effort across Scottish society, industry and government.
“This plan is a positive step forward and we look forward to working with Scottish Government and our partners to further develop the proposals and to continue to work together to drive change at pace towards a clean growth future for Scotland”
Scottish Green Party environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “It is good to see this plan finally published, and parliament will be giving it intense scrutiny in the New Year.
“However, it fails to commit to the kind of transition from fossil fuels that we have started to see in Denmark, New Zealand, France and many other countries – instead, it remains heavily reliant on untested technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage to keep the oil and gas industry running at maximum levels of extraction.
“There are some welcome commitments on transport including a mention of free bus travel for young people, which is part of the current budget deal with the Greens, but on the promise to cut traffic by a fifth, the Scottish Government have a dismal record at delivering anything other than traffic growth.”
The new plan, which also increases the ambition of more than 40 other policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, includes:
- the launch of a £180m Emerging Energy Technologies Fund that, over the next five years, will support the development of Scottish hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage industries, and Negative Emissions Technologies;
- additional funding of £120m for zero emission buses to accelerate the decarbonisation of Scotland’s bus fleet;
- £50m to support the creation of Active Freeways giving sustainable transport links between towns and cities;
- £50m to transform vacant and derelict land for maximum environmental and community benefit;
- reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% by 2030 In line with the new National Transport Strategy;
- phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030;
- creating one million zero-emission homes by 2030;
- a Waste Routemap to 2030 and beyond, including consulting on a ban on all biodegradable non-municipal waste being sent to landfill; and
- an additional £500m of investment in the natural economy, with peatland restoration and woodland creation helping to enhance biodiversity and create jobs.
A revised Draft Public Engagement Strategy has been published for consultation, setting out how the government will continue to engage, support and encourage climate action, together with a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan to support re-skilling and retraining workers so that they can access the jobs that become available.
Climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP said: “In developing this plan, we have sought expert advice and engagement from key stakeholders and will continue to do so.
“These policies and proposals set us on a pathway to a just transition to net zero, but this journey will not be easy; we know there are factors we can’t control, including technological advances and the limits of devolved power.
“We will need to be innovative, to learn as we are going and to utilise new and exciting technologies and ideas, seizing on the multiple benefits our journey to net zero presents.
“As we look ahead to COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, we must also remember that we need this spirit and commitment to be applied internationally.”