Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party: draft shared policy programme

Working together to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

Responding to the climate emergency

In this section: 


The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that transport plays a crucial role in supporting a green and fair recovery, and believe that bold action is needed to increase the pace of change and the scale of investment to support the priorities and outcomes set out in the National Transport Strategy, including our ambitious climate goals.

We agree that in the face of the climate emergency we need to shift away from spending money on new road projects that encourage more people to drive, and instead focus our money and effort on maintaining roads, improving safety and providing a realistic and affordable alternative through investing in public transport and active travel.

To work towards this goal, we will:

  • align transport policy with our climate targets and the goal of reducing car/km by 20% by 2030. Reducing the distance travelled by private car and the number of vehicles on the roads will improve air quality, the wellbeing of our communities and reduce accidents, and is an important part of our approach to achieving Scotland’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets
  • increase the proportion of Transport Scotland’s budget spent on Active Travel initiatives so that by 2024-25 at least £320m or 10% of the total transport budget will be allocated to active travel
  • during this parliamentary session, invest over £5 billion in maintaining, improving and decarbonising Scotland’s rail network
  • use the outcomes of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) to direct future transport infrastructure investment
  • commission a Fair Fares Review to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares. This will look at the range of discounts and concessionary schemes which are available on all modes including bus, rail and ferry. The review will consider options against a background where the costs of car travel are declining and public transport costs are increasing, exacerbating the impact on those living in poverty
  • progress the on-going review of transport governance in Scotland to ensure it is fully aligned with the climate and traffic reduction targets, and to ensure that the national and local capacity is in place to deliver our active travel goals

To support growth in active travel, we also agree that:

  • local authorities will be encouraged to deliver more Safe to School initiatives, with the aim of ensuring every child who lives within two miles of school is able to walk or wheel safely
  • all appropriate roads in built up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20 mph by 2025. A task group will be formed to plan the most effective route for implementation
  • Transport Scotland will work with Police Scotland to develop a one year pilot project to develop an online reporting system enabling anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving
  • our support for the purchase of new buses will be, where appropriate, conditional on space being available for bike transport in addition to wheelchair and buggy space
  • Transport Scotland will work with local and regional transport authorities on the establishment of an active freeway network for Scotland comprising local networks within towns and cities and connecting settlements and major destinations with high quality, safe routes

We also agree that:

  • future investment in our transport network will be set out in the second Strategic Transport Projects Review and will align with the sustainable mode and investment hierarchies
  • during this parliamentary session, new roads projects will normally only be taken forward where they reduce the maintenance backlog; address road safety concerns or adapt the network to deal with the impacts of climate change or benefit communities such as bypassing settlements
  • we will not build road infrastructure to cater for forecast unconstrained increases in traffic volumes

The Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party have and will maintain distinct positions of the dualling of the A96. However, as part of this agreement, the Scottish Government will take forward a transport enhancements programme on the A96 corridor that improves connectivity between surrounding towns, tackles congestion and addresses safety and environmental issues. This will include:

  • dualling from Inverness to Nairn
  • bypassing of Nairn, Keith, Elgin and Inverurie accompanied by measures to remove through traffic from the by-passed town centres
  • targeted road safety improvements where needed, for example between Fochabers and Huntly and Inverurie to Aberdeen
  • the development of an A96 “Electric Highway”

The current plan is to fully dual the A96 route between Inverness and Aberdeen. We agree to conduct a transparent, evidence-based review to include a climate compatibility assessment to assess direct and indirect impacts on the climate and the environment. This will report by the end of 2022.

We will develop a programme of enhanced public transport improvements in North East Scotland, which will include:

  • work to improve the resilience, reliability and efficiency of the Aberdeen to Inverness rail corridor, alongside our commitment to decarbonise the rail network, to make it more competitive to road and encourage modal shift for both passengers and freight
  • working with Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils on the feasibility of a mass rapid transit system for the region, and also a rail link between Dyce and Ellon and further north to Peterhead and Fraserburgh
  • reviewing the A96 corridor with a view to implementing appropriate bus priority measures

We also agree:

  • work on other trunk roads projects and programmes under construction, design, development or procurement will continue and be subject to the normal statutory assessment and business case processes
  • the future direction of investment in Scotland’s railways will be determined as part of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review
  • a Community Bus Fund will be introduced, which will support local transport authorities to improve local public transport in their areas. This fund will support transport authorities to explore the full range of options set out in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, including municipal bus services
  • as part of work on policy measures to reduce car/km by 20%, we will publish an analysis of options to assess and identify demand management options at the local and national level to encourage the use of active travel and public transport as an alternative to cars
  • we will support the delivery of publicly funded lifeline ferry services in cases where essential connectivity cannot be met by the normal operation of the market. We will assess the model of delivery of ferry services in Scotland, to ensure that our approach delivers good outcomes for communities, value for money, accountability and transparency
  • there are areas of transport such as fuel duty, vehicle taxes and rail services, where regulation and reserved issues constrain our ability to make and implement necessary policies. We will press the UK Government for further devolution of transport, specifically with regard to rail infrastructure and services


The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that the climate emergency means we need to use the limited powers we have to accelerate the decarbonisation of our energy system. While electricity has already been largely decarbonised, our plans will see a significant increase in electricity demand for heating and transport. To accommodate this, we will support the continued and accelerated deployment of renewable energy. To maximise the economic benefits of the transition, and to create quality green jobs, we will do more to support the growth of the supply chain and invest in the infrastructure we need.

Critically, our drive to reduce emissions, as well as our commitment to climate resilience, has to be delivered through a just transition, ensuring it is fair and creates benefits and opportunities for all.

While we do not entirely agree on the role of the oil and gas sector, given the urgency of the climate emergency, we accept that countries around the world, including the UK, cannot continue with unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met we cannot ignore the concern that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is simply incompatible with protecting the planet.

However, we recognise how important our oil and gas industry, infrastructure, highly skilled workforce and supply chain are to Scotland. To support the economy and communities that depend upon the sector, and to ensure we meet our energy needs sustainably, we must secure a transition that is truly just, maximises opportunities for decarbonisation, protects workers and their rights, but also fast enough to protect the planet.

We therefore support the call for Scottish Government involvement in a pre-production oil and gas licence climate checkpoint review.

We will also undertake a programme of work and analysis to better understand our energy requirements as we transition to net zero and how this aligns with our climate change targets and the goal of the Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsiuscompared to pre-industrial levels. This work will supplement a wide range of evidence that will be considered to take an informed policy decision on the contribution of North Sea production to the global climate emergency and to Scotland’s economy, security and wellbeing. This will report by the end of 2022.

While we do not have an entirely shared vision for the role of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage across the whole economy, we recognise – albeit to different extents – that these technologies will play a part in a just transition. The Scottish Government remains supportive of these technologies as part of the energy transition and in particular it remains committed to supporting the delivery of the Acorn project. However, we agree that any strategy for deployment of these technologies must enable decarbonisation at pace and cannot be used to justify unsustainable levels of fossil fuel extraction or impede Scotland’s just transition to net zero. 

As a demonstration of our commitment to just transition across Scotland, we will work with partners, communities and other stakeholders to take forward a ten-year £500m Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray. This will support and accelerate the transition of the region and support the role of Aberdeen and the wider north east as one of Scotland’s centres of excellence for the transition to a net zero economy.

Learning from the Grangemouth Future Industry Growth Board, we will work with industry, workforce and local communities to consult on the best way to develop and implement sectoral Just Transition Plans. This includes sectors such as chemicals, nuclear and other energy intensive industries. As part of this we will consult on the requirement for large businesses to produce Just Transition Plans.

Therefore, we will:

  • set an ambition to deliver, subject to consultation, between 8 and 12 GW of additional installed onshore wind by 2030, furthering on our ambitions for up to 11 GW of offshore wind. This will be supported by the changes in the planning system needed to permit the growth of this essential, zero-carbon sector. We also recognise the need to expand offshore wind in a way that maximises opportunities for ecological restoration and mitigates potential impacts on marine biodiversity, while committing to manage such impacts proportionately. In so doing we will encourage community ownership and will work with the industry to secure commitments to support the Scottish supply chain
  • to support people’s jobs and livelihoods, we will create a ten-year £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray to support and accelerate the just transition of the region
  • support the growth of the marine renewables and offshore wind sectors with a strengthened framework of support, to be set out in the forthcoming energy strategy, focused on funding for the infrastructure these sectors need, such as port upgrades. We also recognise the potential impacts on marine biodiversity arising from the major expansion in offshore wind required to achieve our common net zero goals. We commit to working together in a way that recognises this reality and manages these challenges in a proportionate manner. We agree that there is enormous potential to harness Scotland’s natural resources through emerging wave, tidal and floating offshore wind technologies
  • set out the process to deliver a draft of the next Climate Change Plan, that demonstrates a credible pathway to achieving the 2030 target, for consideration in the first half of this parliamentary session

We also agree that:

  • we will deliver an NPF4 that actively enables renewable energy, supporting repowering and planning for the expansion of the grid, with local community input throughout the planning process, and which recognises the global climate emergency as a material consideration for appropriately located renewable energy developments
  • solar power has an important role in continuing to decarbonise our heat and electricity supply, and the forthcoming Energy Strategy will, in consultation with the sector, set out a vision for its future

Green homes and buildings

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that we need to decarbonise how we heat our homes and buildings to meet the net zero pathway, so that by 2030 at least 1 million homes and at least 50,000 non-domestic buildings are using zero emission heating systems instead of fossil fuel boilers. We also agree that, where technically and legally feasible and cost-effective, by 2030 a large majority of buildings should achieve a good level of energy efficiency, which for homes is at least equivalent to an EPC Band C, with all homes meeting at least this standard by 2033. 

We are committed to ensuring a socially-just and fair transition for consumers in particular, continuing to eradicate fuel poverty, and to ensuring that our existing and potential workforce has the support, skills and retraining needed to realise the significant economic opportunities from refurbishing our building stock.

We will therefore develop a strengthened policy and delivery framework for green homes and green buildings, including:

  • phasing out the need to install new or replacement fossil fuel boilers, in off gas from 2025 and in on gas areas from 2030, subject to technological developments and decisions by the UK Government in reserved areas
  • introducing primary legislation, subject to consultation and to limits on devolved competence, that provides the regulatory framework for zero emissions heating and energy efficiency, and underpinning powers to support this transition and ambitious programme
  • developing and agreeing through consultation a series of phased targets starting in 2024, with the most difficult buildings like hospitals being decarbonised by 2038, and for all publically-owned buildings to meet zero emission heating requirements, with a backstop of 2038
  • scaling up public investment to both meet our targets and secure a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will invest at least £1.8 billion over this parliamentary session, allowing us to accelerate energy efficiency upgrades and renewable heating deployment, and creating new jobs and supply chain opportunities across Scotland

We also agree:

  • that all new buildings where a building warrant is applied for from 2024 must use zero emissions heating as the primary heating source and meet significantly higher energy efficiency standards, as well as explicit support for passivhaus and equivalent standards
  • to consult on reforms for Energy Performance Certificates to better align to net-zero and to underpin a future regulatory framework for heat in buildings
  • to immediately end public subsidies for oil and LPG boilers
  • to enable local government and housing associations to provide whole home retrofits where needed, helping to upgrade the most inefficient and expensive to heat social homes to the highest possible standard in one leap
  • to invest at least £400 million over this parliamentary session in heat and energy efficiency projects, including providing support for zero carbon local and district heat networks, including large scale heat pumps. This scheme will provide both capital and project development support.
  • to provide additional support for rural and islands homes which require bespoke and targeted advice
  • to require home and building upgrades at the point of sale, change of tenancy, and refurbishment to meet at least EPC C standards or equivalent, on a mandatory basis, from 2025 onwards. To ensure the approach is fair, and to avoid unintended consequences, this will be subject to a detailed consultation in 2022 and supported by an upscaled grants and advisory service. As a backstop, and to ensure we meet our climate targets, we will require all homes to be upgraded by 2033
  • that the UK Government must take urgent action to create the regulatory and market conditions to enable accelerated deployment of zero emissions heating in Scotland
  • to immediately increase the cashback available to home and building owners on measures to improve the efficiency of buildings and install zero emission heating, and to replace with a grant scheme to support energy efficiency and zero emission heat improvements in 2022/23
  • to deliver a public communications programme to raise awareness of the support and advisory services available and to encourage home upgrades, in order to maximise uptake of these schemes
  • to introduce Fair Work standards as a condition to public sector heat and energy efficiency contracts


The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that our planning system should be a positive force for vital change and improvement in Scotland’s places, for connecting strong, well-functioning communities and for enhancing the health and wellbeing of our people. The planning system, which shapes everyone’s lives in Scotland, must be accessible, streamlined and transparent. We recognise that there are important decisions that need to be made about Scotland’s future development to help us meet our net zero ambitions and deliver a green recovery.

We therefore agree to ensure approval and adoption of Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), which will be vital in supporting the delivery of net zero by 2045 with significant progress by 2030.

In NPF4, we agree to promote and deliver a spatial strategy, planning policies and national developments that together will help build resilient and empowered communities, achieve a wellbeing economy and deliver better, greener places. In particular, we will work towards an NPF4 that will:

  • embed the concept of twenty minute neighbourhoods to strengthen community resilience, reduce carbon emissions and reduce the need to travel, by improving local liveability and wellbeing
  • actively enable renewable energy, including solar power, supporting repowering of existing wind farms and planning for the expansion of the grid, recognising the global climate emergency as a material consideration for appropriately located renewable energy developments and revising the national spatial framework for onshore wind so that developments on National Parks and National Scenic Areas are not supported and the sensitivity of other nationally important designated sites is respected in line with wider policies set out in the National Planning Framework. Subject to fuller assessment, development in all other areas can be supported in principle unless impacts are unacceptable. We will also agree that all renewable energy projects over 50MW should be designated as a national development in NPF4, together with supporting electricity grid transmission infrastructure
  • actively enable the supply chain for the renewable energy sector, including support in the national spatial strategy for regional scale proposals for associated business and supply chain infrastructure, such as energy centres and port diversification
  • secure positive effects for biodiversity from development and deliver natural solutions to climate change in a way that also enhances biodiversity
  • support and guide positive choices that will help Scotland achieve a 20% car kilometre reduction by 2030
  • prioritise bringing vacant and derelict land and property back into productive use
  • help us to meet the housing requirements of people living in Scotland, including where there are pressures arising from second home ownership

We also agree that:

  • legislative reforms to the planning system must strengthen delivery of NPF4 and local development plans and ensure that effective engagement with local communities happens at all stages of local development planning, including better influence of communities through local place plans
  • public bodies need land assembly powers, such as compulsory purchase and compulsory sales orders, which are effective, efficient and fair in order to support delivery of much-needed regeneration, infrastructure and the reuse of vacant land and property
  • we will explore, develop and deliver an effective, fair mechanism for capturing, for public benefit, a share of the increase in land value that occurs when development is supported through the planning system
  • through development of NPF4, we will explore how community benefit can be taken into account and given appropriate weight in planning decisions
  • we will ensure that NPF4 places appropriate controls on development of new energy from waste facilities, reflecting circular economy principles, waste reduction, and decarbonisation objectives
  • we will embed nature networks across Scotland into NPF4 to deliver on our goals to restore and regenerate the environment
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