Publication - Strategy/plan

Climate change delivery plan: meeting Scotland's statutory climate change targets

Published: 17 Jun 2009
Energy and Climate Change Directorate
Part of:
Environment and climate change

The Climate Change Delivery Plan sets out the high level measures required in each sector to meet Scotland's statutory climate change targets, to 2020 and in the long term.

56 page PDF

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56 page PDF

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Climate change delivery plan: meeting Scotland's statutory climate change targets

56 page PDF

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Key messages

  • Transport emissions in Scotland (excluding aviation) were 14.5 MtCO 2e in 2006. Emissions need to be reduced in 2020 by 3.3 MtCO 2e (34% Scottish target) or by
    4.6 MtCO 2e (42% Scottish target) against 2006 levels.
  • It is essential to deliver Transformational Outcome 3:

Almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 with significant progress by 2030 through wholesale adoption of electric cars and vans, and significant decarbonisation of rail by 2050.

  • There is a need for additional planning and demand management measures through to 2020 to reduce the need for travel and the carbon intensity of travel; and to maximise active travel ( e.g. walking and cycling).
  • Improved vehicle technologies, primarily the shift to hybrid and electric vehicles, will provide substantial emissions reductions.
  • An electric charging infrastructure to support the use of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles across Scotland will need to be planned and developed.
  • Action in the traded sector will be needed to offset any growth in emissions from aviation (which will be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012).
  • A number of key policy levers for the transport sector sit at the UK or EU level. Scotland has powers over measures such as:
  • infrastructure and local speed limits
  • Smarter Measures including adoption of more fuel efficient "eco-"driving;
  • demand management measures including road space reallocation
  • prioritising integrated public transport and maximising active travel
  • influencing the location of new development through the planning system.
  • Emissions from transport can be expected to decrease significantly but only in the medium term.
  • The delivery of the relevant Energy Pledges is essential (see Chapter 2).


5.1 Emissions from the transport sector were 14.5 MtCO 2e in 2006, excluding aviation but including shipping and off-road ( e.g. agricultural) vehicles. Recent years have seen rising demand in the transport sector with increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

5.2 Emissions by travel mode between 1990 and 2006 are set out in Figure 8. The largest component is road transport, with 10.5 MtCO2e in 2006, up from 9.2 MtCO2e in 1990. Scotland's aviation emissions 17 totalled 2.0 MtCO2e in 2006, almost double the emissions in 1990, and 3% of total net Scottish emissions. Some 43% of these emissions came from flights within the UK.



5.3 Current forecasts of transport demand suggest continued growth until 2020 18. Forecasts also suggest an increase in UK aviation emissions of over 50% between 2005 and 2050 19.

5.4 Emissions reductions in the transport sector can be achieved in a number of ways, including:

  • Reduction in demand for travel; and/or
  • Reduction in the carbon intensity within each mode of transport; and/or
  • A shift from more carbon intensive to less carbon intensive modes of transport.

Meeting Scotland's 2020 targets

5.5 As set out in Table 1 in Chapter 2, emissions from transport (excluding aviation, for which see below) have to be reduced in 2020 by 3.3 MtCO 2e (34% Scottish target) or by 4.6 MtCO 2e (42% Scottish target) against 2006 levels.

5.6 Measures in the transport sector which will contribute to the delivery of the 34% Scottish target in 2020 include:

  • Improvements in energy efficiency of petrol and diesel vehicles, and increasing uptake of hybrid and electric engines with supporting infrastructure
  • Smarter Measures including reduced travel and modal shift to less carbon-intensive modes of transport, e.g. public transport and active travel ( e.g. walking and cycling)
  • Demand management including road space reallocation
  • Changes to the pattern of development to reduce the need to travel
  • Efficient driving: through improved driving behaviour,
    e.g. eco-driving, car sharing or lower speed limits
  • Sustainable biofuels
  • Improved energy efficiency of new ships.

5.7 Measures in the transport sector which will contribute to the delivery of the 42% Scottish target in 2020 will, in addition, include:

  • More widespread uptake of improved vehicle efficiency in vans and HGVs
  • More widespread adoption of eco-driving
  • Speed limit reductions on motorways.

5.8 Public sector vehicle procurement policies will be key in leading by example in making the transfer from conventional to hybrid and electric cars and priming the demand for electric charging infrastructure.

5.9 Aviation emissions to 2020 will become part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. If aviation emissions continue to grow as predicted, the increase will be compensated by a reduction in emissions elsewhere in the EU traded sector (whose total emissions are capped).

5.10 The measures and actions required to deliver the 2020 targets are summarised in Table 6 at the end of this chapter and are considered more fully below.

Transformational Outcome 3: De-carbonising the transport sector

5.11 The transformational outcome for the transport sector is:

Almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 with significant progress by 2030 through wholesale adoption of electric cars and vans, and significant decarbonisation of rail by 2050.

5.12 The increasing adoption of electric vehicles will in turn demand the planning and development of an electric charging infrastructure across Scotland. The move to electric cars together with other measures is expected to make a 50% reduction in road and rail transport emissions feasible by 2030. This will also have a significant positive impact on air quality. A Scottish Government consultation on low carbon vehicles will take place over summer 2009.

5.13 Other important measures may include the development of second and third generation biofuels or appropriate supplies of hydrogen fuels derived from low carbon sources. All transport measures are expected to make a 90% reduction in land transport emissions feasible by 2050.

5.14 There is also potential to reduce shipping emissions, but there are currently few incentives to do so. While the sector has made long term efficiency improvements and some technological advances, investment in shipping fleets inevitably takes time, with the result that early improvement in the emissions intensity of shipping will require additional interventions.

5.15 A key message is that emissions from transport can be expected to decrease significantly but only in the medium term. The measures and actions required to deliver the transformational outcome are summarised in Table 6 at the end of this chapter and are considered more fully below.

Main Delivery Mechanisms

5.16 The main delivery mechanisms to achieve the 2020 targets and to de-carbonise the road and rail sector by 2050 are:

  • Road and rail transport: Technologies
  • Road and rail transport: Alternative fuels
  • Road and rail transport: Demand management and behaviour change
  • Aviation; and
  • Shipping.

Road and rail transport: Technologies

5.17 Major uptake of new car and van technologies is likely to be required to significantly reduce transport emissions: the power to deliver such change rests with the European Union. Improved road vehicle technologies, some pre, and others post, 2020 include:

  • Non-engine measures such as improved aerodynamics, weight reduction, gear shift indicators and low rolling resistance tyres
  • Improved engine efficiencies in conventional petrol and diesel vehicles
  • Increased use of hybrid engine technologies in petrol and diesel vehicles, which capture and use the energy dissipated in deceleration and braking
  • Adoption of plug-in hybrids (which switch between using electricity and petrol/diesel depending on the type of driving) and/or fully electric vehicles
  • Much further in the future, hydrogen fuel cell technology, using hydrogen produced by renewable sources of energy.

5.18 Current rates of new technology uptake are not sufficient to force substantial emissions reductions from the road transport sector. New mandatory EU targets will require manufacturers to meet average carbon intensity targets for new cars sold of less than 95 gCO 2/km by 2020. The UK has further to go than other EU countries. In 2006, the UK's new cars had an average carbon intensity of 167 gCO 2/km, higher than EU average emissions of 160 gCO 2/km (largely because of a high proportion of large cars) 20.

5.19 This process of technology improvement will be driven by international and EU markets and emissions requirements; Scotland can play its part by facilitating and supporting these technology shifts through a number of mechanisms. A key milestone will be ensuring the necessary infrastructure and electricity generation capacity to charge electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles is available in Scotland.

5.20 The Committee on Climate Change has modelled potential UK uptake rates for new vehicle technology for both the 34% and 42% Scottish targets, compared with a "business as usual" scenario.

  • Under business as usual, over 99% of new cars and 100% of new vans and HGVs use conventional or advanced petrol and diesel engines in 2020
  • In a 34% Scottish target, only 3% of new cars use this type of engine, with around three-quarters using stop-start, micro hybrid or hybrid engines, and over 20% plug-in hybrid or fully electric
  • In a 42% Scottish target, similar progress is needed in vans, with almost two-thirds stop-start, micro hybrid or hybrid engines, and more than 20% plug-in hybrid or fully electric.
  • In both the 34% and 42% Scottish target, around half of new HGVs use stop-start or micro hybrid engines.

5.21 The expected increase in the use of electricity for transport will need to be met by increased capacity of the grid. Full uptake of electric cars is estimated to require an additional 15%
(or 5 TWh per year) of electrical energy relative to 2020 projections. However, charging vehicles outside the hours of peak electricity use, coupled with smart grids 21, could help to mitigate against the intermittency of renewable energy sources.

5.22 Although emissions from diesel powered trains are relatively small (0.3 MtCO 2e in 2006) there is the potential to reduce emissions substantially through electrification. With the current electricity mix, electric trains produce around 30% fewer emissions than diesel engines per passenger-kilometre 22. As the electricity sector de-carbonises, the gains from electrification will increase. Electrification of the rail network has been progressing for many years, The electrified network currently represents 49% of passenger journeys; under current Scottish Government action 64% of journeys will be on electric trains by 2020, with aspirations to deliver further electrification beyond 2020.

5.23 At the same time, developments in rolling stock technology will continue, with more efficient vehicles and technologies coming forward. There have recently been successful trials of hybrid diesel and battery powered trains which delivered an energy saving of approximately 20% per journey. If proven, these technologies will influence how the Scottish Government specifies future rolling stock.

Road and rail transport: Alternative fuels

5.24 Heavy vehicles such as HGVs and buses require a higher intensity of energy than batteries can currently provide. Major reductions in carbon emissions cannot be achieved through new vehicle technologies alone; alternative fuels must play a key role.

5.25 Biofuels are one part of this solution, since sustainable sources of biofuels have low net carbon emissions. Technologies for converting many different types of biomass into fuels for internal combustion engines are well established. However, concerns about the overall impacts of existing biofuel production, including on food production, suggest that a cautious approach is appropriate. Following the Committee on Climate Change position, the Scottish Government assumes that biofuels will make up no more than 10% of transport fuel by volume (8% by energy) by 2020. Second and third generation biofuels may well play an important role in future, but require more research and analysis alongside decisions about the best use of land resources around the globe.

5.26 Hydrogen fuels, if produced from renewable sources, can offer an alternative to electricity as a fuel for all types of vehicles. Whilst already feasible for niche applications, hydrogen powered vehicles are not currently available on the mass market and are generally viewed as a longer term technology option. Challenges to the development of hydrogen vehicles and the prospect of them becoming commercially viable include:

  • The difficulties of storing hydrogen in an energy dense form suitable for use in road vehicles
  • The absence of a natural source of hydrogen means it has to be specifically produced, which is a relatively energy intensive and expensive process; and
  • The requirement for a new supply infrastructure.

Road and rail transport: Demand management and behaviour change

5.27 Annual distances (vehicle-km) travelled by cars have increased almost constantly since 1975, when statistics were first available 23; this increase is expected to continue 24. In the short term, progress in reducing emissions will entail creating viable alternatives as a means of reducing the need for carbon intensive travel.

5.28 Demand management measures, many with concurrent benefits to health and wellbeing, include:

  • Road space reallocation with priority to less carbon-intensive modes of transport, e.g. public transport and active travel
  • Parking strategies which incentivise low carbon vehicles
  • Choices about the location of new development to reduce the need to travel or to reduce the carbon intensity of travel
  • Efficient driving: through. eco-driving or lower speed limits.

5.29 Current policies for addressing demand include the "Smarter Choices, Smarter Places" pilot of investment in infrastructure and sustainable travel initiatives in seven demonstration communities. The findings from this pilot will be transferable across locations in Scotland and, if successful, will help contribute to the Government's long-term objectives.

5.30 In the medium to long term (2030 to 2050) the benefits of promoting increased levels of active travel are likely to be predominantly better health, reduced congestion and less time wasted in travelling. Increases in vehicle efficiency are expected to reduce the emissions reduction impact of these measures.


5.31 Aviation will be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012. The number of allowances to the aviation industry will initially be capped at 97% of average emissions between 2004 and 2006, reducing to 95% from 2013.

5.32 Under this scheme, if emissions increase above the level of allowances agreed by EU Member States there must be compensatory emissions reductions in other parts of the traded sector. Scottish aviation emissions reported in the net Scottish emissions account are fixed by the number of allowances or auctioning rights allocated to Scotland through to 2020.

5.33 Opportunities to reduce actual emissions from aviation lie in the following broad areas: technological improvements, including to engines, aircraft design and fuel type; operational improvement, including the different routing of services or increased passenger loading of aircraft; and behavioural change, including modal shift by users to alternative forms of travel. The Scottish Government has little influence over these factors.

5.34 Research shows that the introduction of High Speed Rail services between city locations served by aviation links can achieve significant modal shift from air to rail. High Speed Rail achieves this particularly well at distances of around 400 to 450 miles, the distance between Scotland's central belt and London. Currently, Britain's busiest domestic air routes are from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London, which account for almost a half of Scotland's total domestic aviation demand. High Speed Rail has the potential to significantly reduce domestic air travel between the central belt and England, but the investment would be largely in England.


5.35 Scottish emissions from shipping are similar to those from its aviation activities, at just over 2 MtCO 2e in 2006. Just under half comes from domestic navigation, including from the oil, gas and fishing industries as well as ferries. However, historically, reported annual emissions have fluctuated over time. This may reflect the fact that there is currently uncertainty in the inventory figures, with a revision to shipping fuel use data having been identified as one of the top priorities in the development of an improvement programme for the Devolved Administrations' inventory data.

5.36 Shipping can be a very fuel efficient method of moving bulk freight, and is generally the most low carbon method currently available for long-distance movement of freight. However, though efficient compared to other modes, shipping does contribute to global carbon emissions, and movement of goods by ships continues to grow. For these reasons, while the shipping sector has not been a major focus of emissions reduction policy or technology development so far, there remains a strong case to consider technology options for reducing the carbon footprint of shipping over time.

5.37 Emissions reductions in shipping are possible through new technology, including improvements to current propulsion systems, methods to improve movement through the water, and a wide range of new and improved fuels. Furthermore, as shipping companies spend a large proportion of their operating costs on fuel, there is a significant incentive for them to invest in such measures to improve fuel economy. As the design life of vessels is 15-30 years, these improvements will only make reductions per tonne-kilometre possible over the medium to long term, but policy levers could accelerate earlier emissions reductions. Various policy levers are possible, though constrained by the international nature of shipping. Possible policy levers available include:

  • Public sector investment in new vessels for subsidised lifeline ferry services
  • Supporting the development of emissions reduction targets in shipping operations.

5.38 As with aviation, shipping is an international industry, so it is essential to develop an international approach for emissions reduction policy to be fully effective. The UK Government has already put a discussion paper to the International Maritime Organisation ( IMO) on emissions trading and the possibilities of extending it to the shipping sector. The Scottish Government will continue to work with the UK Government, the IMO and other relevant international organisations to progress work.

5.39 By 2020, a 5-10% emissions reduction through technology measures and another 10% reduction through demand and fleet management could reduce shipping emissions by
0.4 MtCO 2e 25. By 2050 shipping emissions might be halved.

Barriers and risks

5.40 The need for additional interventions during the next two decades to make significant progress towards de-carbonising the road transport sector by 2050 carries three key risks:

  • The costs for the public and private sectors associated with a major shift from fossil fuels to electric and hybrid vehicles
  • The possibility of failure of one or more of the key technologies in delivering expected emissions reductions and/or achieving market penetration
  • Lack of public support and participation in both Smarter Measures and new vehicle technologies.

5.41 The actions needed to minimise these risks are being addressed for Smarter Measures in the Smarter Choices project being trialled across Scotland. Work is ongoing for new vehicle technologies with the first consultation due in summer 2009.

National Conversation

5.42 The majority of transport functions are already devolved to the Scottish Parliament. However, there are a number of areas where legislative powers and fiscal autonomy could contribute to meeting Scotland's statutory climate change targets. These include:

  • Legislative powers to allow the Scottish Government to reduce emissions through setting lower national speed limits
  • Fiscal autonomy to tailor fuel and vehicle excise duties to better take account of Scottish circumstances which could contribute to emissions reductions.

Table 6: Delivery Plan for the Transport Sector


Required measures (34% Scottish target, 42% Scottish target or Transformational measure)



What more do we need to do?

ROAD AND RAIL TRANSPORT (10.8 MtCO 2e in 2006)

Vehicle efficiency

34% world

Average new car efficiency 95 gCO 2/km in 2020.

Increased efficiency in vans and HGVs, through advanced technologies.

Most buses and coaches at least Euro IV standard by 2020.

Regulation for average new car efficiencies expected to be agreed soon.

Framework for new van efficiencies under discussion.

Environmentally-focused bus service operators' grant scheme being considered.

Not in current policy framework.

Mandatory EU objectives - but also need to reduce UK average emissions relative to rest of EU. On a UK level, VED and other measures to stimulate uptake.

42% world

More widespread uptake of engine technologies in vans and more non-engine efficiency measures for HGVs.

Decarbonisation of cars and vans requires wholesale switch to electric vehicles during 2020s.

Nascent industry working group on sustainable transport. Also see Energy Pledges 8 and 9.

Planning and development of battery charging infrastructure.


Eco driving

34% world

Adopted by 10% of car and van drivers and all HGV drivers.

Energy Saving Trust provide advice on eco-driving.

Eco-driving now part of driving theory test. Freight Best Practice programme encourages efficient HGV driving.

Eco-driving assessed as part of practical driving test - DfT-led. Frequent reminders needed.

42% world

Adopted by 40% of car and van drivers and all HGV drivers.

Not in current policy framework.

Smarter Choices

34% world

Achievement of DfT's "central case" estimate of savings through shift to sustainable, off-peak and active travel.

Smarter Choices, Smarter Places. 7 demonstration towns investing in infrastructure and various initiatives for sustainable travel. Evaluated in 2012.

LA-led national roll-out if pilot successful.

Demand management

34% world

Measures to encourage shift away from cars: e.g. pedestrianising roads.

Some measures in place or being piloted: park & ride; potential for bus hard shoulder running; integrated ticketing.

Further work/national roll out, supported by financial measures if necessary.


34% world

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, 8% (energy) by 2020, in line with CCC report.

Gallagher review recommends maximum of 4-6% by energy unless biofuels demonstrably sustainable.

Develop sustainable biofuels.

Speed limit

42% world

Speed limit reduction to 60mph on motorways.

No plans at present; in UK Government hands.

Eco driving delivering 2% reduction in energy use.

National speed limits currently set by UK, but lower local speed expectations to be set by local government.

Rail efficiencies 1

34% world

Emissions reduction resulting from planned electrification (see text).

Efficiencies in both electric and diesel rail through the Sustainable Rail Programme 2.

Other abatement measures include further introduction of regenerative braking in electric trains. Increased savings with introduction of new rolling stock to 2020.

Continued delivery of the Sustainable Rail Programme.

SHIPPING (2.2 MtCO 2e in 2006)


34% world

Improved energy efficiency of new vessels combined with demand and fleet management.

No action in hand.

Support IMO work on extending emissions trading into shipping sector.

42% world

Faster improvements needed.

Not in current policy framework.

AVIATION (2.0 MtCO 2e in 2006)

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

34% world

Inclusion of aviation in EU Emissions Trading Scheme in order to drive reductions in demand/ increased rate of improvements in fleet efficiency/ improved operational efficiency.

Aviation to be included in the EUETS from 2012.

Promote high speed rail link from England.

1 Savings from electric trains are in the traded sector.

2 The Sustainable Rail Programme is led by the Sustainable Development Steering Group ( SDSG), comprising senior government representatives (DfT and Transport Scotland) and chief executives from the rail industry.


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