Citizens' Assembly of Scotland - Doing Politics Differently report: Scottish Government response

Our response to the report of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland report 'Doing Politics Differently'.

5. Sustainability

"improving Scotland's environmental sustainability, including through technological innovation and use of taxes"

'Doing Politics Differently'

Summary of recommendations

Recommendations 38 – 42 are themed as 'Sustainability'. These include proposals for reducing non-biodegradable waste, incentivising businesses to participate in a green recovery from Covid and initiatives to invest in energy infrastructure and support energy efficiency in the home.

The Assembly's recommendations on sustainability are now complemented by the work of Scotland's Climate Assembly.[87] Scotland's Climate Assembly reported in June 2021, making 81 policy recommendations.[88] The Scottish Government will respond in line with the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, within six months of the publication of the recommendations.[89]

Scotland's Climate Assembly itself drew on lessons of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland in its establishment and the conduct of its business. Both assemblies have demonstrated the potential of doing politics differently through direct participation by citizens in the democratic and policy making process.

The Scottish Government is taking actions on the priorities identified in the Assembly's recommendations on sustainability as part of wider initiatives to help end Scotland's contribution to climate change, restore nature and enhance climate resilience, in a just and fair way.[90]

On the banning of non-biodegradable products and support for recycling (recommendation 38), the government plans:[91]

  • to introduce regulations before the end of this year to end the supply and manufacture in Scotland of certain single use plastic items
  • first investments from the £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund and collaboration with industry, local government and environmental groups to develop a route map to achieving its targets to 2025 and beyond including fiscal incentives (recommendation 41)
  • a Circular Economy Bill, helping develop an economy which reduces demand for raw materials, designs products to last as long as possible and encourages reuse, repair and recycling
  • a £2 million Textile Innovation Fund to address issues associated with textile waste and throwaway culture
  • the UK's first ever national Deposit Return Scheme to increase the amount and quality of drinks container material being recycled

On public information and awareness raising (recommendation 39), the government has launched a new campaign, #LetsDoNetZero, highlighting the benefits a net zero society will bring for the economy, health, and environment, and the transformation required across all sectors of the economy and society.[92] The domestic campaign provides information and resources to support the steps all can take to reduce emissions, and an international campaign demonstrates Scotland's global leadership.[93]

The Scottish Government has extensive plans for investing in the infrastructure and technology for renewable energy resources (recommendation 40) as part of a just transition to net zero. These include:[94]

  • a National Public Energy Agency, with a remit to accelerate transformational change in energy use in homes and buildings, aiding public understanding and awareness, and coordinating delivery of investment
  • a five year Hydrogen Action Plan, setting out actions to support Scottish supply chain activity and drive the development of a low‑cost hydrogen capability
  • investing £60 million to support decarbonising the industrial sector in a just and fair way
  • a £26 million Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund to help manufacturing businesses decarbonise
  • a £34 million Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund enabling direct action to reduce carbon or save energy
  • an Energy Transition Scotland programme, including the £62 million Energy Transition Fund, which is already funding key transition projects, and the £180 million Emerging Energy Technologies Fund to support the development of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage
  • a Scottish Offshore Wind Strategic Investment Assessment and a new Onshore Wind Policy Statement to follow in 2022
  • subject to consultation, securing between 8 and 12GW of installed onshore wind by 2030, with ambitions for up to 11GW of offshore wind; successful bidders in the first round of offshore seabed leasing, ScotWind[95] will be announced in 2022 – this could generate up to £860 million in revenue for Scotland, 10GW of wind power, and billions of investment over the next 20 years

There are also a range of plans to address the energy efficiency of homes (recommendation 42). The Heat in Buildings Strategy[96] sets out an ambitious policy package to ensure that by 2045 heating homes and buildings no longer contribute to climate change. The package includes plans to invest at least £1.8 billion over this Parliament in decarbonising homes and buildings, putting Scotland on course to convert at least 1 million homes and 50,000 non-domestic buildings to low or zero-emission heating by 2030, and for all homes to reach a good standard of energy efficiency by 2033. Other measures include:[97] cashback for homeowners who take out a loan to install green heating systems or eligible energy efficiency measures; an additional £18 million for the Warmer Homes Scotland programme targeted at those in fuel poverty, taking the total budget to £50 million this year; and support for green heating and energy efficiency projects in social housing.

Echoing the Assembly's recommendations on public information, the government will deliver a public communication programme to raise awareness of the support and advice available, and encourage home upgrades.

The Assembly's recommendations on sustainability demonstrate again public support for urgent measures to tackle the climate emergency, and to allow all citizens to make their own contribution to saving and improving the environment, and reinforce the government's commitment to achieve these ends.



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