Transport is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland with 37% according to the latest statistics. This includes international flights and shipping, as well as, domestic transport (e.g. road transport). However, international aviation and shipping emissions are small in comparison. The largest source of carbon emissions in transport comes from our roads with 65% coming from cars, vans and lorries.
In 2018, in their Reducing emissions in Scotland – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament, the Committee on Climate Change said that Scotland’s climate change targets can only be achieved through a truly joined-up approach to tackling emissions across all sectors. The key to this is comprehensive policy packages accompanied by clear implementation measures and action plans. In the same report, transport was highlighted as one of the sectors in which this is urgently needed. In 2018, the Scottish Government introduced the Transport (Scotland) Bill in Parliament, which set a framework for the establishment of low emission zones and also puts forward proposals for bus services, smart ticketing, Scotland’s canals and many more. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Transport (Scotland) Bill, you can watch our video here and read our response here.
The National Transport Strategy is another opportunity to positively influence transport policy in Scotland to ensure that we can effectively tackle greenhouse gas emissions from transport and make low carbon and active transport options the easiest choice for everyone.
The National Transport Strategy (NTS) is essentially a set of guiding principles which the Scottish Government has had since 2006. The NTS is supposed to act as a basis for decision-making on transport in Scotland, for example what new infrastructure projects should be pursued and what other actions should be taken by the Scottish Government. In 2016, a ‘refresh’ of the NTS was launched, with a full ‘review’ launched in 2017. The Scottish Government has now published the new proposed NTS, which they are currently seeking views on. This will guide the decisions made about transport in Scotland for the next 20 years.
The new draft National Transport Strategy sets a vision for a:
“sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system helping to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors”
The Strategy contains four outcomes and says that it wants to put an emphasis on climate action and improving lives. You can see the outcomes below.
The four outcomes are underpinned by 14 policies (see below). These are inter-connected and the Strategy says that none of them exists in a vacuum and/or is related to a specific outcome. Two of the policies reference specific actions on climate change (in green below). Although other policies might not necessarily refer to climate action, implementing them could help improve the reliability, accessibility, and convenience of public transport, walking and cycling, in doing so reducing people’s dependence on private car use. This is particularly important in areas where public transport is either unavailable or unreliable, such as outside of Scotland’s major urban centres.
It’s an exciting time to shape the future of transport in Scotland. This is a great opportunity for you, and for us, to call on the Scottish Government for ambitious action in reducing emissions from transport. It’s also an opportunity to improve the way we get to work, school and anywhere else we need to get to and do it in a reliable, low carbon fashion.
You can make your voice heard in several ways. Firstly, you can join our webinar(s) (dates to be confirmed!) to learn more about the NTS and share your views in detail. Secondly, you can respond to 2050 Climate Group’s survey here. Based on your contributions, we will submit an official response to the National Transport Strategy consultation. Before responding, you can also watch our overview video and quick guide on the Strategy and share this within your network. Finally, you can also directly respond to the consultation on the Government’s consultation hub.