Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (REC)
1. The Committee requested more information regarding the forecast that vehicle traffic will grow by 27% by 2030 and how this has impacted the policy and proposal outcomes modelled by TIMES. (150)
- Transport Scotland will publish its forecasts of transport demand by Spring 2018 providing detail on how the forecasts were developed. The report also includes a number of different scenarios which have been investigated.
2. The Committee called on the Scottish Government to include more information regarding transport emissions in appendices to provide clarity on what action and financial resources will be required to meet targets within the transport sector. (164)
- Transport Scotland publishes the Carbon Account for Transport annually, detailing carbon emissions across all modes of transport. This sits alongside the Element Energy research which sets out potential emissions based on differing abatement profiles.
3. The Committee welcomed the progress made in developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure and encouraged the Scottish Government to continue to assess whether further investment is needed to extend the charge place network to support its ambition for 40% of all new cars sold to be ultra-low emissions by 2032. (179)
- Since the publication of the draft Climate Change Plan, the Minister for Transport and the Islands has published 'Switched on Scotland Phase Two: An Action Plan for Growth'. Action 1 of the Action Plan commits the SG to continue to invest in the ChargePlace Scotland network until at least August 2019 to enable people to confidently charge their Electric Vehicles (EVs) across Scotland and sets out the approach to doing this. As announced in the Programme for Government 2017- 2018, we will strengthen our ambition to ensure there is no need to purchase a petrol or diesel car or van by 2032.
4. The Committee called on the Scottish Government to provide plans on how it intends to challenge the retail, freight and logistics industries' to establish consolidation centres in urban and rural areas to help reduce emissions and congestion. (185)
- The Scottish Government is working with freight stakeholders across sectors to improve urban freight movements. The retail, freight and logistics industries operate in very competitive markets. Delivery models and schedules are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure opportunities to increase efficiency are maximised. Indeed, we are aware of examples where retailers already consolidate deliveries e.g. Co-op consolidates dairy produce in Fife for delivery to Edinburgh.
- Opportunities for consolidation need to be industry-led and commercially viable if they are to be sustainable without ongoing public sector support. Consolidation centres are one of many potential options to minimise freight journeys. As announced in the Programme for Government 2017- 2018, we will also create low emission zones in Scotland's four largest cities by 2020, removing the most polluting vehicles from our urban areas.
5. The Committee called on the Scottish Government, in considering options for making 50% of the Scottish bus fleet low-emission by 2032 to explore all alternatives to diesel, including electric, hydrogen and hybrid options. (196)
- The Scottish Green Bus Fund is helping our bus industry invest in the latest emission reducing technology and is another clear indication of our support and commitment to the bus industry in Scotland. The Scottish Government has begun a review of how future rounds of the Scottish Green Bus Fund should work given developments in technology and markets and the need to tackle both air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
- We are also reviewing the longer term shape of the Bus Service Operator Grant low carbon incentive, in discussion with the industry, to ensure its financial sustainability. We want to see more green buses on the road, and to weight the incentive to the greenest buses, on a technology neutral basis.
6. The Committee asked the Scottish Government to ensure that, as part of its proposed consultation on changes to the Concessionary Travel Scheme, it seeks to identify any unintended consequences these may have on its climate change ambitions. (203)
- The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining free travel through the National Entitlement Card on local or long distance buses for Scotland's older people and disabled people. No adverse changes will be made to the current eligibility criteria for the scheme for those with a disability, and we will ensure that any changes will not affect those already in possession of bus passes.
- The main aims of the scheme are to:-
- allow older and disabled people improved access to services, facilities and social networks and thus promote social inclusion;
- improve health by promoting a more active lifestyle for elderly and disabled people,
- promote modal shift;
- maintain a no better no worse off position for bus operators; and provide opportunities for improvements to public transport, for example increasing the rollout of smart ticketing.
- As anyone who already has a pass will keep it, we believe any climate impacts would be minimal. However, we would consider potential climate impacts (including any local variations) as part of the decision making process and during implementation of any changes which may be considered in future.
7. The Committee recommended that the Scottish Government continues to invest in a range of infrastructure enhancements to support the Rail Freight Strategy and support the extension of train length. (206)
- The Scottish Government continues to invest in a range of enhancements (including infrastructure) to support the rail freight industry and the extension of train length. The Scottish Government fully recognises the importance of rail freight to the economy and is supportive of a sustainable rail freight sector playing an increasing role in Scotland's economic growth by providing a safer, greener and more efficient way of transporting products and materials.
- The Rail Freight Strategy sets out our vision for rail freight and how we will work in partnership with the rail freight industry and others to realise the vision through the four core levers of: innovation, facilitation, promotion and investment. The various actions set out in the strategy are being taken forward by Transport Scotland in partnership with key stakeholders. One of the measures of success of our strategy is longer, faster, greener trains as they are more energy efficient per tonne carried and powered by less carbon intensive sources, such as electricity.
- This work is being taken forward alongside record levels of investment in Scotland's railways, with a £1.8 billion programme of enhancements during Control Period 5 (2014 - 2019) to improve the capacity and capability of the infrastructure, delivering benefits for freight as well as passenger services. We also have the £30 million Scottish Strategic Rail Freight Investment Fund that is helping to better unlock opportunities for rail freight across the country.
- Looking beyond 2019, the Scottish Ministers' recently published High Level Output Specification (HLOS) requires Network Rail to develop a plan with the wider industry to facilitate the growth of new rail freight business. The plan should include both maximising the use of existing flows and the development of new business/terminal facilities.
8. The Committee recommended that when the Scottish Government is planning major infrastructure projects, a key consideration should be how these might impact on its climate change ambitions. (215)
- Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) is the framework used to appraise potential major transport infrastructure options in a particular study area. A Transport Appraisal includes consideration of the impact of potential transport infrastructure options against a range of criteria, including the environment. The environment criterion consists of a number of sub-criteria, one of which is "Global Air Quality" and involves assessing the impact of a transport infrastructure option on carbon dioxide emissions. Further details of this sub-criterion are available in section 7.4.2 of the STAG Technical Database. 
- A Policy Assessment Framework (PAF) exercise is also completed for potential transport options, as part of a Transport Appraisal, with scoring against policy criteria including Scotland's climate change targets. Further details on the PAF are available in the STAG Technical Database.
- The evidence from a Transport Appraisal should provide the strategic business case for any emerging transport infrastructure project in line with Transport Scotland's Governance Procedures for Investment Decision Making and Monitoring and Review and Guidance on the Development of Business Cases and be sufficient for the project to proceed to development. The findings of a Strategic Business Case, including impacts against the environment, are revisited in greater detail as the business case progresses to the Outline Business Case stage and the project is designed and developed in line with the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) for road projects and Network Rail's Governance for Railway Investment Project (GRIP) for rail projects. The preparation of major road schemes, for example, includes the publication of an Environmental Statement setting out environmental impacts and proposed mitigation.
9. The Committee recommended that the impact on carbon levels of the proposed reduction in air passenger duty (APD) should be covered in the Plan. It also recommended that the Scottish Government should commit to undertaking and publishing an analysis of the likely increase in carbon emissions from aviation if air passenger duty were to be reduced. (222)
- The 'whole system' approach of the TIMES model does not allow us to attribute abatement to individual policies. This approach is stronger and more transparent; outlining what the emissions profile needs to look like if we are to meet our goals.
- The impact of reducing APD has already been factored into the transport emissions envelope. As such, measures to offset the increase resulting from APD have been taken into account when formulating the policies and proposals included within the Plan.
10. The Committee welcomed the decreased noise pollution and improved air quality that results from reduced transport emissions. However, it felt that greater emphasis should be given to the benefits of active travel in the plan. It noted that modal shift to active travel has less impact on carbon abatement, however, it has significant health benefits, which it suggested should be factored in the final plan. (271)
- Transport Scotland recognises the co-benefits of active travel and enthusiastically supports them where available, however in terms of emissions abatement the overall impact of active travel is small. We note the broader benefits of active travel in the Transport Chapter of the Plan and explore these fully in our partner document, the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland published in January 2017.
Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (REC) and Transport Stakeholders
1. The Committee and transport stakeholders called on the Scottish Government to consider whether demand management measures such as low emission zones and workplace parking levies should be afforded increased prominence in the final Plan. (219)
- The Scottish Government recognise that low emission zones have a role to play in reducing emissions from the most polluting vehicles. As stated in the Programme for Government 2017- 2018, we will look to roll out further low emission zones to the four biggest cities by 2020 and to all Air Quality Management Areas by 2023.
2. The Committee recommended that policies to encourage modal shift and incentivise bus patronage are outlined in the final Plan. It also recommended further and increased support for the development of walking and cycling infrastructure to allow for integrated active travel and public transport journeys, with a view to encouraging modal shift from private cars. In addition, transport stakeholders recommended that the focus on individualised modes of transport should not be at the expense of collective or active modes of travel. (202)
- The Scottish Government invests more than £1 billion annually in public and sustainable transport improving passenger experience and reducing journey times. We will continue to provide free bus travel to those who need it most whilst ensuring the scheme is sustainable in the long term.
- Transport Scotland is working in partnership with bus operators and local authorities to create a legislative framework that provides options to help them deliver a stronger and more sustainable network for their communities. The Scottish Government supports the development of partnership working to tackle issues like congestion and ensure that bus passengers get the best possible service.
- The final version of the Plan reflects the bold new low emission policy commitments in the Programme for Government 2017 -2018, including phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, doubling investment in active travel and introducing Low Emission Zones to Scotland's cities.
3. The Committee called on the Scottish Government to set out, in the final Plan, how it intends to meet its walking and cycling modal shift commitments, especially its commitment that 10% of everyday trips are made by bike by 2020 In addition, transport stakeholders requested further information regarding Active Travel budgets to ensure that Active Travel behaviours are embedded and sustained over the coming decades. (192)
- Transport Scotland published an updated Cycling Action Plan for Scotland in January 2017, detailing measures we and our partner organisations must take if we are to reach our ambitious vision if we intend to meet our cycling commitments. Additionally, as announced in the Programme for Government 2017 - 2018 we are doubling our active travel budget from £40 million to £80 million per year from 2018/19. This will contribute to making our towns and cities safer and friendlier spaces for pedestrians, increasing active travel opportunities in our urban areas.
4. The Committee and SEStran recommended that further information on any incentives proposed by the Scottish Government and the associated costs required to encourage uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is detailed in the Plan. (176)
- Since the publication of the draft Plan, the Minister for the Transport has published 'Switched on Scotland Phase Two: An Action Plan for Growth'. The Action Plan provides further information on measures to encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles. Furthermore, the Programme for Government 2017- 208 has announced a step change in Scotland's ambition around electric vehicles, ensuring we will end the need to purchase a petrol or diesel car or van by 2032.
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Recommendations
1. The Committee recommended that the final Plan should include detail of how modal shift can be achieved, with emphasis on the role of policies to influence behaviour change. (317)
- The Plan contains a number of catalytic actions which send a clear signal to individuals and businesses that behaviour change is needed to achieve our emissions goals. This includes measures specifically designed to encourage modal shift. For example, low emission zones, freight consolidation centres and electric vehicle incentives.
- We will continue to develop measures which encourage modal shift to sustainable transport, including through our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places and Energy Saving Trust behaviour change initiatives. These include support for car clubs, fuel efficient driver training and a range of innovative active travel projects. The Programme for Government 2017- 2018 announcement regarding the increase in active travel budget further shows our commitment to encouraging people to switch to more sustainable modes of travel by making our towns and cities safer and friendlier spaces for cyclists and pedestrians.
2. The Committee recommended that the final Plan include clarification as to the reason why the traffic growth assumptions used in the Element Energy research to inform the plan differ from the assumptions that the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform referred to and the CCC have used in their own analysis. (172)
- The traffic growth assumptions used in the Plan originate from the Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS). Element Energy then used its own modelling to allocate this demand growth to different vehicle segments and powertrains and generate its energy projections and emissions. The assumptions used in this modelling, including mode splits and rates of penetration of technological change will differ from the assumptions used by the UK CCC.