Publication - Strategy/plan

Protecting Scotland's Future: the Government's Programme for Scotland 2019-2020

The Programme for Government sets out the actions we will take in the coming year and beyond. It includes the legislative programme for the next parliamentary year.

162 page PDF

6.5 MB

162 page PDF

6.5 MB

Contents
Protecting Scotland's Future: the Government's Programme for Scotland 2019-2020
Chapter 1: Ending Scotland's Contribution to Climate Change

162 page PDF

6.5 MB

Chapter 1: Ending Scotland's Contribution to Climate Change

Scotland is facing a climate emergency. Like the rest of the world, we must act to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change on our people and our planet.

We have already committed to some of the toughest statutory emissions reductions in the world. Adopting a net zero emissions target by 2045 underlines our ambition that Scotland will no longer contribute to global climate change.

This will require changes in the way that we currently live, work and travel. But our world-class innovation and our natural assets leave us well placed to make those changes while seizing the opportunities of transitioning to net zero.

Scotland has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of global action, gaining an early foothold in developing new low emissions solutions, products and processes that we can export across the world. This will create new employment opportunities and attract investment to Scotland.

In considering how we will make this transition, we must consider how the impacts and opportunities will be equitably shared, underlining the importance of our Just Transition Commission. It will provide an interim report early next year and publish its final report in 2021.

We have committed to updating our Climate Change plan in light of the latest advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change. We will use the recommendations from the Committee and draw on robust scientific evidence to help us to update the plan early next year.

But we know that there are areas where we can take action now. In particular, we will make changes to how we develop our infrastructure and grow our economy, how we travel, how we use our land and how we heat our homes – such changes will make an important contribution to emissions reduction in Scotland.

This Programme for Government commits to vital early action to accelerate our journey towards net zero.

The Climate Emergency Response Group

Scotland's answer to the climate emergency will require us to work across the public, private and third sectors and across Scotland's diverse communities.

The recently established Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) already shows the sort of collaboration that we will need to see to be successful. We have noted their 12 specific asks and this Programme for Government responds as follows. We will continue to work with them and other key stakeholders across Scottish society to deliver on our commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Climate Emergency Response Group asks

Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2019-20 commitments

Mobilise the £11 billion of annual public procurement to support the product and service innovation the climate emergency response needs

We will mobilise the £11 billion of annual public procurement to support our climate emergency response, including consulting on legislation to require public bodies to set out how they will meet our climate change and circular economy obligations

Produce public guidance on sustainable, climate-friendly, healthy diets

We will work with business, the public and the third sector to develop guidance so more people are encouraged to eat more locally-produced, sustainable and healthy food that supports our aims on climate change

A £100 million Agricultural Modernisation Fund

We will create a new Agricultural Transformation Programme focused on sustainability, simplicity, profitability, innovation, inclusion and productivity. We will consider any additional funding implications in the Budget

Make regional land use plans for maximising the potential of every part of Scotland's land to contribute to the fight against climate change

We will make regional land use plans for maximising the potential of every part of Scotland's land to contribute to the fight against climate change

Initiate four new Green City Region Deals

We will unlock additional resource for emissions-reducing investment through a Green Growth Accelerator – referred to by the CERG as a 'Green City Deal' – combining public and private investment to transform cities and regions

Signal that every one of Scotland's city centres will be vehicle emission-free by 2030

We will consult on Scotland's ambition to make the transformative shift to zero or ultra-low emission city centres by 2030 by engaging extensively with key sectors, in particular with the bus sector

Establish a public-interest company to operate CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) infrastructure

We will explore with partners their proposals on Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) and this will inform our Scottish public sector response to the UK consultation on CCUS business models. We will also work with the Scottish National Investment Bank to explore how to support the full-scale commercial deployment of CCUS in Scotland. Alongside this, we will take forward a number of actions to support and promote CCUS – including support for the Acorn project at St Fergus and the emerging Scottish industry-led CCUS alliance

Enhance building standards to deliver zero-carbon homes and buildings

We will set new standards to reduce energy demand, and associated carbon emissions, within new buildings by 2021. In addition, we will require new homes consented from 2024 to use renewable or low carbon heat. For non-domestic buildings, our ambition is to phase in this approach from this date

Accelerate Scotland's energy retrofit scheme – to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2030 and zero-carbon by 2045

We will publish an updated position in our Energy Efficiency Route Map in December 2019 to accelerate the improvements of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in our homes

Create a Scottish Heat Pump Sector Deal

We will go wider than this with the Scottish Low Carbon Heat Funding Invitation targeting a minimum of £30 million of support for projects, including heat pumps, that demonstrate innovative and low carbon ways of heating buildings

Complete plans for how we generate the renewable electricity needed to reach net-zero

Our next Energy Statement will set out the extent to which renewable and low carbon energy generation will need to combine in order to meet net zero, and we will monitor progress on an annual basis

Dedicate the Scottish National Investment Bank to delivering on the Climate Emergency

The primary mission of the Scottish National Investment Bank will be to ensure transition to net zero

The Scottish Government is also making a number of other major commitments in response to the climate emergency.

Finance

We will bring to market a £3 billion Green Investment Portfolio for projects supporting our response to the climate emergency

Transport

We will invest over £500 million to improve our bus services across Scotland

Transport

We will work to decarbonise flights within Scotland by 2040

Transport

We will decarbonise Scotland's passenger rail services by 2035, ahead of the UK's target of 2040

Scottish Water

Scottish Water will become a zero-carbon user of electricity by 2040 – five years before our net zero target

Electric vehicles

We will make a further £17 million available for zero interest loans to support the purchase of ultra-low emission vehicles

Planning

The fourth National Planning Framework will help to radically accelerate reduction of emissions

Buildings

We will establish Net Zero-Carbon Standards for all new public sector buildings

Public sector fleet

We will work to decarbonise our public sector fleet by 2025

National Forum on Climate Change

We will establish a National Forum on Climate Change so that everyone can be involved in the decisions we have to take

Woodland and forestry creation

In the coming year, we will raise our ambition and commit to planting 12,000 hectares. This will be supported by an additional £5 million investment

Biodiversity

We will make an additional £2 million available to the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, funding further important projects which address biodiversity and climate change

These commitments are set out in more detail below.

Our approach to policy and securing investment

The next parliamentary year offers the opportunity to lay down clear markers to citizens, the public sector, businesses and investors about Scotland's transition to net zero and how we will work in partnership to achieve it.

We recognise our responsibility as Government to provide clear statements of our medium- and long‑term ambitions and how we intend to use the levers we have to progress them. This Programme for Government is a key first step in doing that.

The first part of this chapter sets out the medium- to long-term policy platforms that will provide the vital foundations for investment and allow organisations, both public and private, to plan their activity.

Public finance

Later this year we will publish our Budget for 2020‑21 and consider longer-term spending priorities.

This gives us the opportunity to look across our activity and assess where government investments are focused and the extent to which these can accelerate emissions reductions and tackle climate change.

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland will publish its advice on priorities by the end of this year. We will use that advice to produce our next Infrastructure Plan early next year. Low carbon will be the key theme of the Plan. The Infrastructure Commission's advice will also be considered in our Capital Spending Review. Taken together with the establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank this will make clear to citizens and businesses our priorities for investment in low emissions infrastructure.

Planning

The global climate emergency means that the time is right for wide-ranging debate on more radical planning policy options.

Innovation, infrastructure and investment will be needed to transform our cities, towns and rural areas into places that support lower emissions lifestyles and businesses. Planning is a vital tool in leveraging the changes we need to make to achieve our goals.

We will begin engagement on the fourth National Planning Framework in autumn this year. Through it, we will explore planning options that radically accelerate reduction of emissions.

By summer next year, we will publish a draft National Planning Framework which sets out how and where development should take place across Scotland for the period up to 2050.

This will be part of a wider package to deliver the reform envisaged by the Planning Act 2019. As part of that wider programme, we will introduce legislation on permitted development rights. This would support, for example, developments such as micro-renewable technologies. We will also launch a programme of digital transformation to make better use of digital technologies and data, including a digital mapping prototype to support co‑ordinated and sustainable development.

Procurement

Public procurement in Scotland has a value of over £11 billion per year.

It therefore plays a vital role in shaping markets and investment. We will use that influence to drive change and build responsible supply chains, taking a collaborative approach to tackling the climate emergency just as we have done with Fair Work.

To do that, we will consult on legislation to require public bodies to set out how they will meet our climate change and circular economy obligations in their procurement strategies.

The Scottish Government will take the lead by buying goods and services that reduce emissions, minimise waste and allow for re-use or recycling wherever appropriate.

Together, the public sector will make sure that what we buy and how we buy it helps to meet these obligations.

Mobilise £11 billion public procurement to support climate emergency response

Scotland's 'Green New Deal'

We will rethink not only what investments we make, but also how we make those investments. We need to leverage the power of public and private sector investment, target investment in the right projects and use those to create and sustain quality jobs.

Green finance

The UK Committee on Climate Change has said that the capital investment needed to achieve net zero is significant but, with collaboration between the public and private sectors, it is achievable.

The public sector will use its significant spending capacity. But we know that the market for green finance is burgeoning. Scotland's natural assets, skills and reputation for innovation make it a highly attractive place for that investment.

Next year, the new Scottish National Investment Bank will be established and, with its budget of £130 million in the first year, it will work across the public and private sectors to provide patient finance to drive investment in Scotland. We confirm in this Programme that its primary mission will be to secure the transition to net zero.

Another key element of public investment will be extending the current Growth Accelerator to become a Green Growth Accelerator – what the CERG has termed a 'Green City Deal'. This will allow our local authorities to invest in emissions-reducing infrastructure for their area.

We will start discussions with councils and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to discuss the model, identify local projects and agree the levels of finance available through the upcoming Budget.

We will also provide a strong message to private investors. Green finance is growing and we want the market to know that Scotland is a great place to invest it.

Green Growth Accelerator to transform cities andregions

We will identify and bring to market a Green Investment Portfolio of £3 billion of investable projects over the next three years. This will include projects involving renewables, waste, the circular economy and property, and will actively look to expand the investment market into other sectors such as transport, housing and hydrogen.

We will work with partners including Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish National Investment Bank, Scottish Futures Trust and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to make a public call for projects in November this year. We will also leverage private sector skills and expertise to originate and structure a pipeline of projects and promote it globally.

The Clyde Gateway in the east of Glasgow will become Scotland's first Green Regeneration Innovation District, working to decarbonise travel and energy for homes and businesses, and addressing the priorities of local people. It provides a model for place-based green regeneration which can be adopted elsewhere.

£3 billion green investment portfolio

We are supporting the establishment of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) to position Scotland at the centre of international discourse on ethical and sustainable finance, with a major conference to be held in Edinburgh in October 2019. We are working in partnership with GEFI and the United Nations Development Programme to develop models and tools to drive investment in nature‑based solutions to tackle the challenge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals embedded in Scotland's National Performance Framework.

These actions will put Scotland on the map, showing that we are a place to build green projects and develop technologies to address climate change. Our actions will create the conditions needed to kick-start investment and build the momentum needed for us to deliver on our targets and improve the quality of life of our people.

A 'Mission Zero' for transport

An area where we can and must act immediately is in transport.

Transport is Scotland's largest greenhouse gas emitting sector. Reducing our emissions means that we not only need to decarbonise our existing models of transport but also change the ways in which we travel. Our forthcoming National Transport Strategy has climate action as a top priority. It will enable people to make greener and cleaner transport choices to help deliver our net zero target.

This Programme for Government commits us to make key changes across all modes of transport.

Make the Highlands and Islands the world’s first net-zero aviation region by 2040

Aviation

Aviation emissions remain high and we recognised the need to address this when we confirmed that we would not be progressing with the cut in Air Departure Tax.

Air travel continues to be, however, one of the quickest and most convenient ways to travel, not least to and from our island communities. As a result, we will work to decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040. This will position Scotland at the forefront of innovation in advanced aerospace technologies, and is a visible global signal of our commitment to green tourism.

We will support the trialling and introduction of low or zero emission planes operating between airports across the Scottish Highlands and Islands, with the first such trials taking place in 2021. In collaboration with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, we will also aim to create the world's first zero emission aviation region through a new programme of activity to decarbonise airport operations, infrastructure and flights across the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Rail

We will decarbonise Scotland's passenger rail services by 2035, ahead of the UK's target of 2040.

Around 75% of Scottish passenger journeys are currently undertaken on electrified lines. Electric rail travel improves journey times and electric trains are more reliable than diesel trains, requiring less maintenance. They make less noise and result in better air quality, bringing benefits to cities and communities across the network.

Work has commenced on the design and development of a number of electrification schemes, with the East Kilbride and Barrhead line prioritised as part of our rolling programme of efficient electrification.

Where we cannot electrify or it is inappropriate to do so, we will invest in battery-powered trains and work with developers of hydrogen fuel cell trains to accelerate their development and deployment through practical trials in Scotland.

Our investment will result in greener, faster, more reliable and more resilient rail services. This will encourage more people to use public transport and result in better connected places within Scotland and beyond.

We will set out detailed timescales and actions for how we will decarbonise rail services in the spring.

Buses

The majority of public transport journeys in Scotland are by bus and people and families on low incomes are more likely to use buses as their main form of transport.

We will bring forward a step change in investment with over £500 million to improve bus priority infrastructure to tackle the impacts of congestion on bus services and raise bus usage.

In addition, we will begin to design a scheme next year to reallocate road space to high occupancy vehicles, such as buses, on parts of the motorway around Glasgow.

Our Green Bus Fund has supported the purchase of 475 low emission buses since 2011, with an investment of over £17 million. In April 2019, we introduced a revised green incentive of the Bus Service Operators Grant. This additional subsidy is weighted to the lowest emitting buses, to further support the uptake of ultra-low and zero emission buses.

Over £500 million to make buses the easier, greener choice

We recognise that the transformation to a world‑leading zero emission fleet will require bold and creative action. With the Scottish National Investment Bank, the bus sector and potential investors we will work to explore the potential for new forms of patient and innovative financing to radically accelerate the pace of deployment of zero emission buses across Scotland.

Public sector fleet

Public sector bodies in Scotland have started decarbonising their fleets and 1,250 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) will soon be in use across Scotland's local authorities and public sector organisations.

Building on this, we will go further.

We will work with public bodies to phase out petrol and diesel cars from our public sector fleet and phase out the need for any new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles by 2025.

The market for heavier zero emission vehicles, such as heavy goods vehicles, is less developed than for cars. We will work with public bodies, the automotive sector and Scotland's innovation community to create the conditions to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland's public sector fleet by 2030. We will apply flexibility and pragmatism for frontline and emergency service and specialist vehicles.

As part of this, we will ensure that the public sector considers whether a vehicle genuinely needs to be replaced like-for-like or whether it could consolidate its fleet, move to a shared vehicle service or switch to active travel.

We will continue to use our Switched on Fleets programme to support the public sector transition to a zero emission fleet, and to help stimulate the growth of Scottish supply chain opportunities.

Electric vehicles

According to the latest figures, there are currently over 12,000 ULEVs registered in Scotland. The rate of growth each quarter has been outpacing the rest of the UK since 2017.

To date, we have provided over £40 million of support to Scottish-based businesses and consumers to purchase ULEVs through our Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme.

We will provide an additional £17 million to support the demand for ULEVs, while expanding the scheme to include used electric vehicles so as many people as possible can experience the benefits of electric vehicles.

Over the past five years, we have funded the development of one of the most comprehensive electric charge point networks in Europe.

Building on this success, we have formed a new Strategic Partnership with our electricity network companies to improve the delivery and integration of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electricity networks in Scotland.

An extra £17 million to support the demand for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles

We will deliver trial projects with network companies to improve knowledge and demonstrate the critical role they will play in accelerating universal access to key public infrastructure at the lowest overall cost to consumers. This will include a £7.5 million joint demonstration project to trial new and innovative ways to deliver and invest in electric vehicle charging at scale and will support our commitment to create 20 electric towns and cities by 2025.

We will intensify our engagement with industry and key stakeholders to consider and develop new financing and delivery models for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Scotland.

We will also continue to support the ongoing development of charging infrastructure, and will provide in excess of £20 million to support investment by local authorities, homes and business.

Active travel

We continue to take forward our Active Travel work to make our towns and cities friendlier and safer places for pedestrians and cyclists, supporting more people to make sustainable travel choices, as well as contributing to better health for people across Scotland.

Last year, we doubled our investment in Active Travel to £80 million.

This is enabling walking and cycling infrastructure to be developed across the country. For example, 11 large-scale infrastructure projects are now underway across Scotland, of which the first will be completed in 2020. This is the South City Way which will connect Queens Park in Glasgow's Southside to the heart of the Merchant City. The funding also supports infrastructure such as cycle storage, cycle racks and bicycles and enables urban design projects, behaviour change programmes, education projects and e-bike trials and grants.

We have appointed an Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland who will act as a national advocate for Active Travel and promote its benefits to everyone who lives, works in or visits Scotland.

Low emission zones

We are taking action to tackle air pollution caused by transport.

Although everyone is impacted by poor air quality, it is the most vulnerable people who suffer the greatest impact, namely the very young, the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions.

We are introducing Low Emission Zones in Scotland. These zones set an environmental limit on certain road spaces, allowing access to only the cleanest vehicles. They will help to transform towns and cities into cleaner and healthier places to live, work and visit.

The first phase of Scotland's first Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was launched in Glasgow last year, with a further phase to commence next year. Plans are progressing to put LEZs in place for Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee by next year and we will consult on LEZ emission standards, including the extent to which future stricter emissions standards can contribute towards encouraging the transition towards lower and zero-carbon forms of transport.

This year, we will continue to help areas to introduce LEZs through our Support Fund. We will make up to £2.5 million available to help commercial and private vehicle owners who face the greatest difficulties in preparing for LEZs to make the change needed, beginning with taxis. We have also begun to install remote sensors on our trunk road network to monitor real-world emissions from vehicles.

We will consult on Scotland's ambition to make the transformative shift to zero or ultra-low emission city centres by 2030 by engaging extensively with key sectors, in particular the bus sector. This work will be undertaken alongside our engagement with industry, our partners and key stakeholders on matters such as investment in electric vehicle charging and innovative financing of zero emission buses.

Supporting transport innovation

We want to make sure that Scotland can realise the full economic benefits of our mission zero commitments. To do that, we will:

  • invest £2 million to take ideas for sustainable and zero carbon mobility to fully-formed propositions suitable for large-scale investments
  • develop proposals for new centres of expertise for emerging technologies and business models in sustainable mobility
  • establish an Expert Advisory Group to advise on how Scotland's automotive sector can benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles
  • establish a new supply chain accelerator programme to help public bodies and commercial partners develop innovative solutions to the challenge of decarbonising public sector vehicle fleets
  • work with industry partners to assess the skills the Scottish motor trade will need to support the transition to zero emission mobility
  • launch a new Hydrogen Accelerator Programme to attract technical experts to help scale up and quicken the deployment of hydrogen technologies across Scotland, with an emphasis on sustainable mobility

Driving down emissions from buildings and heating

Another key area for immediate action is in how we power and heat our buildings. Emissions from buildings account for around 20% of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions. We therefore need to build on, accelerate and scale up our action to reduce emissions from our homes and buildings.

We will publish a Heat Decarbonisation Policy Statement next summer setting out the steps we will need to take to reduce the emissions associated with heating our homes and buildings.

We have already set out an ambitious route map to transform energy efficiency though Energy Efficient Scotland – the £12 billion programme of improvements will make our homes and buildings warmer, greener and more energy efficient.

New homes must use renewable or low carbon heat from 2024

Over the lifetime of this Parliament, we are investing £500 million in energy efficiency.

This Programme for Government commits us to scale up and accelerate existing work so that we reduce emissions from heating our homes and buildings to near-zero by 2045, in line with advice from the Committee on Climate Change.

Decarbonising heat in new buildings

New homes and buildings are already built with high standards of energy efficiency but we need to take further action.

We will consult this year on setting new building standards to be introduced in 2021, updating the regulatory system by improving energy standards for all new buildings. These new standards will set challenging targets to reduce energy demand, and associated carbon emissions, in new buildings.

Over the next year, we will also begin working with the construction sector to develop regulations so that new homes consented from 2024 are required to use renewable or low carbon heat. This is one year earlier than is planned in the rest of the UK.

Similarly, our ambition is to phase in renewable and low carbon heating systems for new non-domestic buildings consented from 2024. We will work with the construction, property and commercial development sectors to identify and support good practice to inform the development of standards on how we can achieve this.

We will set an example with new public sector buildings. We will work with public authorities to establish Net Zero Carbon Standards for new public buildings and make heating them more efficient.

Decarbonising our heat sources and reducing emissions from our buildings

A growing proportion of the heat used in our homes and buildings comes from renewable or low carbon sources. However, there is potential for much greater use of renewable heat sources in Scotland. We can also do more to reduce the demand for heating in the first place by making homes and buildings more energy efficient.

We will launch a new Scottish Low Carbon Heat Funding Invitation through our Low Carbon Innovation Fund, targeting a minimum £30 million of support for renewable heat projects. The invitation will encourage capital projects that demonstrate innovative and low carbon ways of heating our buildings across Scotland, including heat pumps, as well as supporting industrial projects focused on reducing emissions.

This work will be supported by the introduction of the Heat Networks Bill in the coming year.

The Bill will introduce regulation of the heat network sector to support, facilitate and create controls in respect of the development of district and communal heating infrastructure in Scotland.

We recently consulted on whether Energy Efficient Scotland could be accelerated and how this could be achieved in line with a Just Transition. We will respond by the end of the year as part of an updated Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map. In addition, we will set out, and consult on, proposals for accelerating improved energy efficiency in owner-occupied housing. From 1 April 2020 private rented sector landlords will have to meet minimum energy efficiency standards for new tenancies. We will publish an updated position in our Energy Efficient Route Map in December 2019 to accelerate improvements of EPC ratings in our homes.

Local heat and energy efficiency strategies

Communities and local authorities have a critical role to play in ensuring a co-ordinated, place-based approach to decarbonising heat and improving energy efficiency.

To make sure that communities are empowered and play an active role in planning for low carbon energy systems in ways which work for them, we will publish a Local Energy Policy Statement by the end of this year.

The majority of Scotland's local authorities have piloted the development of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies. These set out long-term approaches to reducing emissions from buildings and tackling fuel poverty by identifying a solution tailored to the local area, as well as identifying zones suitable for the development of heat networks.

This year, we will launch a third round of pilots for those local authorities which have not yet piloted the development of these strategies. The strategies have a vital role in planning our long-term approach to decarbonising the heat supply to our homes and buildings and respond directly to recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change. We will work with local government to put the strategies on a statutory footing and bring forward the timescale for implementation.

£30 million for innovative low carbon heating projects

Tackling fuel poverty

While the latest figures for 2017 show that the number of households in fuel poverty is at its lowest level since 2005-06, there is still more to do.

This year, we passed the most ambitious fuel poverty legislation in the UK, setting a target date of 2040 to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty.

To ensure we take the action needed to meet these targets, we will publish a Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2020. We will work with stakeholders and people with lived experience to set out how we will tackle all the drivers of fuel poverty in ways which work for different communities. This includes addressing the issues of low household incomes, unaffordable fuel prices, low levels of energy efficiency and inefficient use of fuel.

We remain on track to deliver on our ambition of creating a new public energy company by summer 2021. It is a long-term and ambitious project which will help us tackle fuel poverty, promote inclusive economic growth and tackle climate change.

We are working with stakeholders to develop detailed proposals for the new company and will say more on our plans in the coming year.

Energy

Renewable energy sources play a key role in decarbonising transport and reducing emissions from heat.

We are building on our work to boost Scotland's energy supply chain. That means continuing to explore every possible option to help put Scottish businesses in a stronger position to secure contracts, and pressing the UK Government to work with us in securing this outcome.

To lead by example and take action to further strengthen the case for investment in renewable energy sources, we will accelerate efforts to use 100% renewable electricity on the Scottish public estate, working with public authorities.

Our next Energy Statement will set out the extent to which renewable and low carbon energy generation will need to combine in order to meet our net zero ambitions and we will monitor progress on an annual basis. We are also developing plans to consider the contributions which may be necessary across the electricity and wider energy system to help deliver our net zero future. This will form part of a wider review of targets and policies across each of the key sectors of the economy to inform our updated Climate Change Plan.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen technologies are key to our ambitions for decarbonising transport and offer us the opportunity to be at the forefront of global innovation.

Scotland has a favourable reputation as an early adopter and innovation leader in hydrogen initiatives, hosting some of Europe's major demonstration fleets.

To accelerate this, we will undertake a hydrogen assessment project. Working with stakeholders, we will assess the use of hydrogen across various applications and the resources, capability and skills needed to implement them. We will also explore the regulatory levers and barriers to hydrogen production. Informed by that, in the coming year we will publish an action plan for the development of a hydrogen economy.

Offshore wind energy

Scotland has huge offshore wind potential, and we expect the technology to make a significant contribution to our energy and climate change ambitions, while supporting economic development and creating jobs.

We continue to work hard to make Scotland an attractive place to invest in offshore wind energy developments, and will take further steps this year to provide clarity and certainty across the sector. These will include the development of an Offshore Wind Policy Statement, making clear our ambitions for offshore wind, and the steps that we will take to secure as much development and economic benefit as possible.

We will produce our Offshore Renewable Energy Decommissioning Policy Guidance by the end of this year and consult on our draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind in the autumn, with the aim of publishing a final version in 2020.

We have already invested £2 million in innovation and skills to drive down costs and make sure Scotland has the necessary skills in place to take advantage of the opportunities offshore wind has to offer.

We are making a similar sum available again this year to support the offshore wind sector in Scotland. This will include funds to launch a competition with the Carbon Trust inviting bids to address floating offshore wind technology challenges. This will help to de-risk technological solutions, support the Scottish supply chain and help to make floating offshore wind energy generation cost-effective.

Wave and tidal energy

In February, we launched the £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund, with £3.4 million from the Fund already awarded to help build the world's most powerful floating tidal turbine.

This year, we have also provided a further £10 million to the Wave Energy Scotland programme, taking the total level of support to the wave energy sector to nearly £40 million since 2014. With this support, Wave Energy Scotland will launch two new Scottish wave energy prototypes at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney in summer 2020.

Through this funding, and collaboration with the sector through the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group, we will continue to champion marine energy and support the research, development, innovation and demonstration that will maintain Scotland's competitive advantage.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy has the potential to play a significant role in the decarbonisation of our energy system and in supporting certain industries to decarbonise their processes.

We will consult on a draft bioenergy action plan later this year and publish a final version in May 2020. The plan will set out how we will take advantage of the opportunities bioenergy has to offer while making sure that it is implemented sustainably and in line with our other priorities.

Reducing emissions from oil and gas

Our continued support for oil and gas exploration and production in the North Sea will now be conditional upon a sustainable, secure and inclusive energy transition. This will include an increased net zero investment by industry and government.

Reducing emissions from the extraction of offshore oil and gas will make a significant contribution to tackling global climate change, particularly if technologies applied in the North Sea can be exported and deployed in other countries.

To drive this change, we will support in principle the Oil and Gas Technology Centre's plans to establish a new Net Zero Solution Centre, enabling the North Sea to become the first net zero hydrocarbon basin in the world.

This centre will support the development and deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage, hydrogen and renewables technologies that can be integrated with existing offshore oil and gas infrastructure. On completion of a business case analysis, we will confirm our funding contribution and call on the UK Government to co‑invest.

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)

CCUS is an industrial-scale decarbonisation system which has the potential to make a big impact on our emissions targets. Scotland's key CCUS resource is the vast potential for CO2 storage in the North Sea. With the existing oil and gas infrastructure, it is the most cost-effective place to begin CCUS in the UK.

We will explore with partners their proposals on CCUS and this will inform our Scottish public sector response to the UK consultation on CCUS business models. We will also work with the Scottish National Investment Bank to explore how to support the full-scale commercial deployment of CCUS in Scotland. Alongside this, we will take forward a number of actions to support and promote CCUS, including support for the Acorn project at St Fergus and the emerging Scottish industry-led CCUS alliance.

The UK Government has committed to deliver UK‑wide policy frameworks and deployment pathways for CCUS. This clarity is needed by industry and we will continue to press the UK Government to publish these by the end of 2019.

Reducing emissions from business and industry

The UK Committee on Climate Change recognises that eliminating emissions from industry is a particularly challenging task. However, it is confident that such emissions can be reduced to much lower levels by switching to low carbon fuels, using carbon capture, utilisation and storage and making industry more efficient, reducing material and energy input levels.

Reducing emissions from industry requires efforts to reduce energy inefficiency in industrial processes and a rethink of how materials are consumed and reused. Much of this requires radical new approaches, supported by innovation and technological advancement.

Our first step is to lead by example.

Scottish Water

Scottish Water, our publicly-owned water company and the biggest electricity purchaser in Scotland, will commit to being a zero carbon user of electricity by 2040 – five years before our net zero target.

Scottish Water currently produces or hosts renewable energy schemes that generate twice as much energy as it uses. As part of its contribution to the climate emergency, it will commit to produce or host three times as much as its usage – i.e. over 1,300 GWh, by 2030.

It will also take a number of actions to consider how its operations can support lower emissions for both Scottish Water and its partners by:

  • being a leader in bio-gas generation and recovery of heat from sewers, building on projects such as the Stirling District Heat Network
  • exploring how to maximise the role its land and catchments can play in capturing and storing carbon whilst supporting biodiversity through, for example, tree planting and protecting peatland
  • accelerating further the search for and testing of new technology to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from its processes, fleet and buildings
  • investing in reducing its non-recyclable waste, reducing its chemical usage and increasing biodiversity on its assets

The Scottish Government has asked Scottish Water to take the lead in setting out and pursing action towards a vision that will ensure Scotland's water sector will help secure a sustainable future and inspire a Hydro Nation.

Scottish Water will share and demonstrate the approaches it has taken to reduce energy use and generate renewable energy with the public sector in Scotland and in particular seek partnerships around heat from sewers and bio-gas production. It will also take action in climate adaptation and pursue further partnerships with local authorities and others to adapt to increased intensity rainfall events by creating natural, blue/green infrastructure to manage surface water away from homes and businesses and help create great places to live.

Supporting businesses to reduce emissions

We will take action to optimise our existing support so that Scotland's industrial sites are better positioned to access funding opportunities that will help them to deliver emissions savings, whilst remaining internationally competitive and avoiding carbon leakage.

Industrial projects will be able to bid into the Low Carbon Innovation Fund and we are working with partners to encourage a pipeline of industry projects focused on reducing emissions.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has developed a range of sector plans to drive industry compliance with environmental regulations. The plans encourage sectors and businesses to go 'beyond compliance' and work collaboratively on a voluntary basis to reduce energy efficiency and the use of material and water resources.

Our new online single entry point for business will include specific information and tools to help businesses respond to net zero and we will host a Mission Zero Business Summit at the start of October this year. In addition, a new partnership between Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage will bring together business support and environmental and regulatory services around the needs of businesses and the opportunities of net zero.

Help for businesses to respond to net zero

It will start by working with around 20 businesses who have identified rapid growth opportunities from transitioning to net zero. This work will also identify the best ways to help other businesses on their journeys including how they:

  • address waste and material flows
  • improve the efficiency of transport and energy use
  • identify new market opportunities
  • reinvent business models and processes to become more circular

Construction and net zero

The construction sector uses considerable natural resources and is the largest contributor to waste in Scotland.

Given this, and our ambitions around infrastructure, the built environment, heat and associated public sector investment, we will prioritise work with the Scottish construction sector to ensure it is ready to realise the opportunities of our wider ambition and make its own contribution to net zero.

Working through the Scottish Government Construction Scotland Leadership Group, with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and the wider sector, we will set out a phased and collaborative approach to reducing the sector's direct and indirect output of greenhouse gases. This will include benefits to be realised from design, products and materials used, waste reduction and elimination, whole life costing and maintenance. We will use all of our levers to support this phased approach and support the sector and those who buy from it with evidence, case studies and learning and development opportunities to help them make the necessary transition.

Innovating for net zero

We will also intensify support and funding from our enterprise agencies for research and development and innovation in low carbon technologies, processes, products and services.

The additional funding of £15 million per year for research and development grants announced in our 2017 Programme for Government will be increasingly focused on low and zero carbon. We will also use programmes like the Can Do Challenge Fund and Civtech to drive low carbon innovation in the public sector, creating new opportunities and new markets for businesses across Scotland.

Building on the success of our Unlocking Ambition programme, which has supported 40 of Scotland's most promising and ambitious entrepreneurs, Unlocking Ambition 2 will seek to prioritise applications which will create businesses which support a low carbon economy.

We will continue to prioritise the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, a joint venture between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise to deliver Scotland's centre for driving innovation and investment in sustainable mobility and low carbon energy, giving a significant boost to Scotland's journey to net zero.

It will provide business and industry with support packages containing a mix of grants, loans and incentives as well as competitive rates, space and expertise for innovation and prototypes. To make sure that this support is at the cutting edge of technological and industrial expertise, it will be backed up by partnerships with colleges, universities and industry experts.

The Parc will also include an Advanced Skills Academy to help to develop the workforce of the future, delivering bespoke packages covering data, digital, creativity and innovation, as well as core technical skills.

Delivering the skills needed for net zero

To make sure that we reap the rewards of our new approaches to investment, we need to build the right skills in Scotland's workforce. It is also essential to make sure that our workers now and in the future have the skills they need to secure high quality and sustainable jobs so that they can share in the benefits of the transition to a net zero economy.

Scotland already has many of the skills we will need as our economy transitions, including in finance and investment, energy, engineering, construction and chemical science.

However, many of these roles are becoming more complex and, as technology changes rapidly and investment flows into Scotland, we will need a comprehensive approach to what education, skills development and training our system provides.

Working with Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council, we will develop and publish a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan. First, we will gather the evidence we need to make the right investments in our skills system, such as where there are current skills shortages and where there might be shortages in the future.

Based on this evidence, we will set out a framework for skills investment, including how we will:

  • maximise the opportunities for people to upskill and reskill within the energy system, moving into areas such as oil and gas decommissioning, offshore wind energy and energy systems management
  • give people the skills needed to support the changes in the construction and energy efficiencies of our buildings and manufacturing and the decarbonisation of our transport system
  • create a supportive and collaborative business environment for research and innovation in new low carbon industries so that we can be ahead of the game and able to prepare for the new skills that will be needed

The framework will set out clearly how government and other public bodies will work with further and higher education, as well as businesses and industry.

In the meantime, we will refocus existing work and take forward new actions to build the skills base we need for the transition.

The National Manufacturing Institute (NMIS) Skills Academy will provide a comprehensive service for business, industry and the public sector. This will include a drive to embed circular economy skills and thinking in future workforce training.

Working alongside the new Advanced Skills Academy at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, the two academies will develop and meet future skills needs in advanced and digital manufacturing, creativity and innovation as well as services for sustainable mobility.

Our support for manufacturing will help businesses take advantage of the new supply chain opportunities created as, for example, we and other countries seek to decarbonise our heat and transport systems. This will be a key area of focus as we work with businesses, our enterprise and skills agencies and with universities and colleges to develop and deliver a single and integrated programme of support and development for manufacturing in Scotland. Supporting manufacturing businesses to make the transition to net zero and realise the opportunities of a low carbon economy will be at the heart of this programme.

We will support a new 'Climate Solutions' course and qualification for public and private sector leaders. It will give them the further skills and knowledge they need to drive climate change action. We will support at least 100 training places on the course, which has been developed by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Circular economy and tackling throw-away culture

For Scotland to become a net zero society, we need to think about how we use and reuse materials and how we handle waste.

We will shortly consult on the draft proposals for inclusion in the new Circular Economy Bill, bringing forward this legislation in the coming year. It will embed an innovative approach to reducing, reusing and recycling materials and help to deal with items that we know cause environmental harm.

The provisions in the Bill will enable charges to be applied in relation to the provision of items such as single-use drinks cups, helping to tackle the 4,000 tonnes of waste beverage cups create in Scotland each year, and create a new penalty for littering from vehicles.

Reuse and recycle

Our new Deposit Return scheme is the first national scheme of its type in the UK. It will reduce the £46 million spent each year on litter removal. The carbon savings of the scheme are expected to be equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off our roads.

Over the next few months, we will develop and refine the regulations needed for implementation. We aim to deliver the scheme by 2021.

We have already taken action on single use plastics in Scotland and will continue to do so.

We are aiming to meet or exceed the standards set out in the European Union's Single Use Plastic Directive. We will shortly consult on raising the minimum amount for the single-use carrier bag charge from 5p to 10p with the intention of bringing forward the required legislation in the coming year. We have taken action to reduce the use of plastic cotton buds and microbeads and will take further action by banning more problematic single use plastic items, such as cutlery, plates and food and drink containers, by 2021. We will take equality interests into account and apply exemptions where appropriate.

Across Scotland in 2017, we recycled more than we sent to landfill and the overall volume of recycling in Scotland has increased. We are meeting our European Union targets to reduce waste sent to landfill and our target on the percentage of construction and demolition waste being recycled or prepared for reuse. Eighty per cent of households now have access to food recycling collections and take-up of household food waste recycling has increased from 26% in 2012 to 55% in 2017.

However, there is more to do. Scottish waste legislation is underpinned by the waste hierarchy, with waste prevention ranked as the most favourable option. We will consider possible measures which will stop certain materials, such as textiles and food, from entering the waste stream at source.

By the end of this year, we will:

  • host a recycling summit to bring together senior leaders across the public and private sectors to identify opportunities to accelerate the pace of progress towards Scotland's ambitious recycling targets and ensure a more consistent, efficient and easier to understand approach to recycling
  • in partnership with COSLA, establish a strategic steering group between Scottish and local government to identify opportunities to support delivery and further enhance or transform strategic approaches to waste and household recycling
  • begin evaluation of the Scottish Household Recycling Charter
  • Over the course of next year, we will also:
  • consult on new legislation required to meet recent amendments to European waste directives including the addition of textiles to the list of recyclable waste materials which require separate collection
  • review the Scottish Household Recycling Charter's supporting Code of Practice
  • explore opportunities to place requirements on businesses to publicly report on their waste and surplus, specifically in regard to food and textiles
  • launch a second phase of our food waste marketing campaign
  • consult on the current rural exemption for food waste collections
  • review the food waste separation requirements
  • consult on an obligation for food retail sites, over a certain size, to redistribute edible products in line with the food waste hierarchy

Scotland's land

Scotland's land plays a critical role in our response to the global climate emergency. In response, we are stepping up our activity.

At a national level, we will commission independent advice on options for changing land use patterns and practices within Scotland to optimise the role that our rural land use, including agriculture and forestry, plays in achieving our national climate change targets.

We will make regional land use plans for maximising the potential of every part of Scotland's land to contribute to the fight against climate change. To do this, we will develop proposals for implementing regional partnerships and frameworks. Based on these proposals, we will work to enable regional land use partnerships to emerge locally by 2021. Each partnership will be tasked with creating a regional land use framework by 2023 that identifies where resource can have the biggest climate impact.

These national and regional efforts will help us to develop an integrated and strategic approach to sustainable land use. This will have the potential to transform the ways in which government and the public sector invest in the rural economy and support the contribution that rural land can make to a range of economic, societal, climate change and biodiversity outcomes. This work will also help us to plan for what arrangements we may need to put in place should we leave the EU.

We will also work with the Scottish Land Commission to explore ways to ensure that the Land Use Strategy and the Statement of Land Rights and Responsibilities support our efforts to tackle climate change. In addition, we will look at legislative options to give weight to the recommendations of the Scottish Land Commission.

We are committing to the development of a national nitrogen balance sheet. The establishment of this balance sheet will allow us to better understand Scotland's nitrogen cycle and allow us to take a systemic approach to improving nitrogen use efficiency and reducing nitrogen waste throughout the entire economy.

We will set out further action on Scotland's land in the update to the Climate Change Plan which will be published next year.

Farming and food production

Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for farming in Scotland. The climate and landscape which makes Scotland one of the world's leading producers of quality meat and livestock also generates emissions.

Already, our agricultural sector is playing its part in reducing emissions. Through a range of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes, we have been supporting farmers and crofters to modernise and transition to a sustainable low carbon future.

But we must pick up the pace of change. We will create a new Agricultural Transformation Programme for farming and food production focused on sustainability, simplicity, profitability, innovation, inclusion and productivity, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While funding of this package of actions will be considered as part of future rural support, work will begin this year to:

  • develop pilot schemes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
  • encourage more tree planting across Scotland including woodland integration and agro-forestry on Scottish farms
  • promote the multiple benefits of good grassland management to more livestock farmers
  • encourage more farmers to invest in renewable energy, including bio-energy, to meet their energy needs
  • support an evidence-based approach to crop production and selection and strategic development of organic farming
  • explore the development of models to demonstrate and promote carbon neutral farms

Peatlands

Scotland's vast areas of peatland provide a significant natural sink of CO2 when left undisturbed. Our peatlands need to be healthy to realise the benefits to climate change of reducing emissions and other benefits including to air and water quality, biodiversity and habitat creation and flood alleviation.

While almost 20,000 hectares of peatlands have been restored by our Peatland Action initiative, many of Scotland's peatlands are not in good condition.

This year we are investing a total of £14 million to fund projects to restore degraded peatlands. To address activity that impacts some of our peatlands and reduces their carbon store, we will seek to phase out the use of horticultural peat by increasing uptake of alternative growing media substrate.

Forestry

Scotland planted 84% of the new woodland created in the UK in 2018-19 and we have exceeded our annual planting target of 10,000 hectares. In the coming year, we will seek to plant 12,000 hectares. To support this, we will make an additional £5 million available for woodland and forestry creation to support its contribution to tackling climate change.

While we already have ambitious targets for tree planting which take us to 15,000 hectares by 2025, we anticipate accelerating progress towards that and setting increased targets beyond 2021. We will consult stakeholders on what is ambitious but also achievable. Key to this will be receiving clarity on future funding from the UK Government – they have failed to provide this so far and we will continue to press for it.

This year, we will plant a new woodland to recognise the contribution of foresters from the British Honduran Forestry Unit and the wider Commonwealth to Scotland's forests and to commemorate the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act.

We will complete work responding to the review of arrangements to ensure efficiency and consistency in grant-making for new planting.

Small-scale rural and forestry businesses form the majority of beneficiaries of the Forestry Grants Scheme. However, a significant amount of publicly-funded planting is done by larger commercial and private forestry companies. This year, we will continue work to ensure that woodland creation and forest management by businesses of all sizes enhances community benefit across Scotland.

We have already begun to upgrade and modernise our forestry fleet, providing new electric vehicles to sites across Scotland. By 2021, we plan to increase the proportion of electric vehicles from 2% to 10% of the forestry fleet.

12,000 hectares new woodland

Our natural environment and biodiversity

Our natural environment is central to our response to the global climate emergency, to a successful, sustainable economy and to our national identity. Providing opportunities to enjoy the outdoors is also essential to our wellbeing and that of future generations.

We will make sure that our work helps to improve health outcomes and promote outdoor learning and volunteering, as well as inspire people to love nature in some of the world's most iconic landscapes.

We made a commitment to protect our natural environment, and the habitats and species that depend on it, when we signed up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and embedded them in Scotland's National Performance Framework.

We will set out our new overarching approach to environmental protection through our Environment Strategy. It will be a living and evolving strategy, able to adapt to new evidence as it emerges and refocus work to take advantage of new opportunities or address new challenges. We will set out our working vision for the Environment Strategy in the coming months.

Biodiversity

We recognise the importance of biodiversity and the complexities and challenges that tackling its loss presents. Biodiversity loss and the climate emergency are intimately bound together: nature plays a key role in defining and regulating our climate and climate is key in shaping the state of nature.

We continue to deliver on our Biodiversity Strategy and work towards achieving the 'Aichi' 2020 international targets – 79 different pieces of work are underway to help us to meet these and we will publish a further report on our progress by April next year.

To boost work to achieve the targets, last year our Biodiversity Challenge Fund made up to £2 million available over a two-year period to improve habitats, safeguard species and encourage increased access to nature. The Fund was almost entirely committed in the first year and so we will make an additional £2 million available, funding further important projects which address biodiversity loss and climate change.

We are carefully considering the recent IPBES global biodiversity assessment and, by the end of this year, we will write to Parliament with our initial assessment of our current activity, what more needs to be done and what we need to do differently.

This will inform a step change in our programme of work to address biodiversity loss, which will take account of the new post-2020 international biodiversity framework and targets to be agreed at a Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties in China in late 2020.

Scotland is playing an active role in this international work and, in April, we will host an international workshop on tackling biodiversity loss and addressing its links with climate change.

We will continue to support the Central Scotland Green Network, Europe's largest greenspace development. We will work with communities this year on projects which will benefit ecosystems and waterways and open Scotland's natural environment to more people.

We will publish a blueprint for the network, providing a targeted map that identifies the best opportunities for greenspace projects that will deliver the biggest climate change and biodiversity benefits to communities across the central belt. We will also promote healthy pollinator populations in central Scotland by developing the B-Lines project to form a framework for a pollinator network.

We are working with partners to reduce the risks posed and the negative impacts caused by invasive non-native species in Scotland, one of the five biggest drivers of biodiversity loss.

We will develop a strategic approach to wildlife management that puts animal welfare at the centre while protecting public health and economic and conservation considerations. We will publish a set of principles next year. In addition, we will respond to the independent reviews on grouse moor management and deer management and publish a new Honey Bee Health Strategy in 2020.

Our natural environment and biodiversit

By the end of 2019, we will have delivered over 105 miles of new and improved paths since 2015, making it easier for walkers, wheelchair users, cyclists, horse riders and buggy users to enjoy our fantastic countryside.

Greening of the urban environment improves quality of life in our towns and cities, enhances their environmental performance and climate resilience, as well as supporting regeneration and acting as a catalyst for economic investment.

We are taking action to make sure that people in our urban areas are able to benefit from nature and nature-based solutions to climate change. The Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention Programme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will continue to enhance greenspace and create more opportunities for people in some of our most disadvantaged communities to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing.

Clean air enhances our enjoyment of the outdoors and is essential to protecting our health as well as our natural environment. An independent steering group has reviewed our Clean Air Strategy and we have published their recommendations. We will consult on these and the outcome will inform our revised proposals for a new air quality strategy in 2020.

Protecting our marine environment and species

Scotland is home to a third of the EU's breeding seabirds of international importance and their status is an important indicator for assessing the state of our marine environment. Populations of 12 species of breeding seabirds in Scotland have declined, with climate change likely to be a contributing factor.

We are taking forward our work on the Seabird Conservation Strategy and will consult on our proposals and adopt the final strategy in 2020.

In the coming year, we will designate the site of a new national deep sea marine reserve, to the West of Scotland, taking an important step forward in the protection of vulnerable deep sea habitats and species.

We have consulted on the creation of four new Marine Protected Areas and will designate sites early next year, contributing to the protection of biodiversity and geodiversity such as Risso's dolphins, minke whales and Scotland's marine geomorphology.

We will designate two historic sites – the Queen of Sweden wreck near Shetland and the wartime history of Scapa Flow.

To further protect Scotland's marine wildlife, we will:

  • consult on a UK-wide dolphin and porpoise conservation strategy later in the autumn
  • undertake the second review of the seal licensing system by September 2020
  • update our Marine Litter Strategy in 2020, increasing focus on litter removal alongside litter prevention
  • develop a new marine mammal science strategy by spring next year
  • update Scotland's Marine Atlas in 2020

As well as providing a habitat for many species, our marine environment plays an important role in helping to absorb carbon.

Next year, we will begin publishing the results from our research programme into carbon sequestration in the marine environment and establish a new virtual centre to co-ordinate marine climate change science and research in response to the global climate emergency.

We will also publish a multi-year national wild Atlantic salmon strategy by September 2020.

Many water bodies in Scotland are damaged by the legacy of historical engineering work such as embankments and weirs, preventing them from providing habitats for fish and from being enjoyed by communities.

With the support of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, we have established a Water Environment Fund to support restoration projects. In the past year it contributed to work which will restore 543km of fish access to Scotland's water bodies.

Work on the River Almond is allowing migratory fish to swim freely in the river for the first time in generations. The investment has also supported work on improvements to the River Nith which is helping to manage flooding and creating a biodiverse and ecologically-functional river corridor.

We will publish an assessment of our progress towards achieving our ambitions for Scotland's water environment by the end of this year.

£2 million BiodiversityChallenge Fund

A joint endeavour

Scotland's transition to net zero will affect every part of society from the types of jobs we do to the way we travel, what we eat and how we heat our homes.

The Big Climate Conversation is engaging people, businesses and the public sector across the country to let people have their say and help us to update the Climate Change Plan.

Once the update has been published next year, we will establish a National Forum on Climate Change to continue the conversation and bring together Scotland's businesses, public sector, communities and individuals to help to contribute to the decisions we will all have to take.

Later this year, we will consult on amending the statutory duties that require public sector bodies to report annually on their emissions reductions to ensure that those duties help to drive the step change in action that is needed. We will also publish the outcome of the review of our Climate Challenge Fund and our plans for evolving the Fund to support communities to tackle climate change.

We will use the information from the Big Climate Conversation to help us update our statutory Climate Change Behaviours Framework. It will provide guidance on the behaviour changes the Committee on Climate Change is clear that we will all need to make to help Scotland reach net zero. The new framework will be published in 2020.

The UK Government announced on 9 September that, if it is successful in its bid to host the international climate negotiations, UNFCCC COP26, in December 2020, the host city will be Glasgow.

Given Scotland's leadership in climate action and Glasgow's strong track record it is only natural that this should be the case. If the bid is successful, we will work with the UK Government and local and international stakeholders on how the views and contributions of sub-national governments and non-governmental organisations are represented in the negotiating process.

Climate change adaptation

We need to be prepared to manage the impacts of climate change that we are experiencing already, as well as prepare for impacts that we will feel in the longer term.

Later this month, we will publish our new, statutory, five-year Climate Change Adaptation Programme. It will set out around 170 policies and proposals centred around our communities, climate justice, the economy, Scotland's infrastructure and supporting systems, our natural, coastal and marine environments and our international partnerships. The Programme is designed to address priority risks for Scotland and a number of research projects to help us better understand the action we will need to take.

In the meantime, we will continue to invest £42 million each year for flood protection measures, in addition to funding flood warning and forecasting systems and working on the resilience of our water supply, transport, health services, natural environment, forestry, peatlands and agriculture.

Later this year, we will launch a two-year action plan to promote flood resilient repairs and property level flood protection to make sure that property owners are aware of, and take up, the support available to them.

With increased temperatures and changes to our weather, there is an increased risk of wildfire in Scotland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will develop a wildfires strategy to ensure it can respond to these new and increased risks.


Contact

Email: kathryn.fergusson@gov.scot