Scottish government prioritises climate in new programme

The Scottish government has announced a raft of green policy measures as it placed climate change at the heart of its new legislative programme.

Announcing the SNP’s new Programme for Government, Protecting Scotland’s Future, yesterday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland ‘must act’ to limit climate change’s impact on the country.

The government placed strong emphasis on finance, transport and construction as it pledged a ‘Green City Deal’ for cities and regions, £11bn in green public procurement, and a £3bn Green Investment Portfolio to stimulate investment in green projects in Scotland.

‘This Programme for Government sets out some of the next steps on Scotland’s journey to net-zero emissions and raises our ambition in light of the emergency we face,’ Sturgeon said. ‘We are leading the world in setting challenging targets, but we must also redouble our efforts to meet them.’

‘Tackling climate change also creates opportunities. We can lead the way in showing how our society and economy can transition to net zero in a way that creates economic opportunity and provides the assurance of rewarding work for all.’

The Scottish government’s wide-ranging new programme comes ahead of several reviews of its activity as Scotland aims to end its contribution to global climate change by the year 2045 at the latest.

Alongside its financial commitments, the government made big promises on transport as it pledged to begin trialling low or zero-emission flights in the Highlands and Islands by 2021, to reduce Scotland’s rail emissions to zero by 2035, and to plough over £500m into bus infrastructure to improve bus usage.

In addition, Sturgeon said the government would provide an extra £17bn to support the demand for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs)

It will also ensure that from 2024, all new homes must use renewable or low carbon heat, with a £30m investment in renewable heat projects.

The Programme for Government saw a mixed response as it attracted praise from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The CCC’s chair Lord Deben applauded the programme, saying that it showed that Scotland is ‘serious about its commitment to tackle climate change’.

However, Friends of the Earth Scotland criticised the programme for not going far enough, citing its failure to ‘seriously’ phase out fossil fuels.

FoE Scotland’s director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: ‘The obvious contradiction at the heart of this Programme is its commitment to some new measures in transport, heating and agriculture while continuing to back the offshore oil and gas industry to keep on drilling and destroying our climate.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

Digital News Reporter

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