Climate Change Plan: third report on proposals and policies 2018-2032 (RPP3)

This plan sets out the path to a low carbon economy while helping to deliver sustainable economic growth and secure the wider benefits to a greener, fairer and healthier Scotland in 2032.

Monitoring implementation of the Climate Change Plan

Monitoring the implementation of the Climate Change Plan is vital to ensure effective implementation of progress towards meeting the emissions reduction targets set under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Our proposed monitoring framework builds on approaches to assess the previous reports on proposals and policies and on the method applied by the Committee on Climate Change to monitor progress against the UK carbon budgets and Scotland's emissions reduction targets. This monitoring framework marks a new approach to understanding the implementation of the Climate Change Plan and we will continue to develop the approach as we learn from the implementation process.

As recommended by the Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, we have embedded monitoring into the policies across the Plan. In some sectors, there is currently limited data available and as more data and associated monitoring arrangements are being developed, these will be incorporated into the monitoring framework. The Committee on Climate Change will also continue producing an independent statutory report on Scotland's progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets.

Developing the Monitoring Framework

The following principles have been used to design and develop this framework:

Principle 1: The monitoring framework will focus on both policy implementation and policy outputs. This is necessary to describe progress and also to support learning and continuous improvement in policy delivery.

Principle 2: In addition to monitoring policy implementation, progress on the development of proposals will also be monitored, where appropriate, to ensure that the Plan is on track for its longer-term goals.

Principle 3: Our aim is to ensure that all of our policies are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time limited), which will help us to monitor progress in implementation.

Principle 4: An annual monitoring report will be published from 2018 onwards. Our intention is to publish the first annual report in October 2018 aligning it with the timing of the statutory target report on the 2016 annual target required under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The timing of subsequent monitoring reports will be kept under review, in an effort to streamline reporting processes where possible.

Principle 5: While the monitoring framework will apply a consistent approach across the Plan, it will be proportional in its data and indicator demands to reflect the range of different policies within the Climate Change Plan. For some sectors, data may be available annually but for others data collection may occur in two or three yearly cycles.

Principle 6: Improvement and learning underpins the framework. We will continue developing and refining our monitoring approach and the findings from the annual report will support improvement in policy design and delivery.


We have developed a suite of implementation and output indicators to allow us to gauge how the implementation of policies is progressing against the relevant milestones set out in the Climate Change Plan and what lessons can be learnt from this process to inform further policy development and implementation. Policy output indicators are used to identify whether we are on track to achieve our policy outcomes e.g. number of hectares of restored peatland per year. Implementation indicators are employed to check that the measures are in place to deliver the final policy outcomes e.g. number of projects approved for funding from the Peatland Action restoration project funding. The Plan describes proposals as having a potential to make a significant contribution in future years when their development allows them to be converted to policies. Where possible, the monitoring report will provide an update on the development of proposals across the Plan.

We will use the following indicators to monitor progress against the policies in the Plan:

  • Policy output indicators. These indicators will measure progress against achieving the policy outcomes. For example, has commercial and industrial emissions intensity fallen by 30% by 2032 relative to 2015; has the electricity grid intensity reached 50g CO 2/ kWh by 2020? We will use policy output indicators to determine whether implementation of the Climate Change Plan is on track and will flag any policy area that needs particular attention. In some cases it will be possible to measure the policy output indicator on an annual basis; in others it will be necessary to provide qualitative data to describe progress. Where possible, an indicative trajectory has been included for policy output indicators in the Plan. Instead of focusing on long-term trajectories which provide a high level of uncertainty, we have, where possible provided short-term trajectories for the next three to five years to drive the action required now.
  • Policy implementation indicators. These indicators will assess the progress in policy implementation. These interim indicators allow us to check the progress of the policy towards delivering its ultimate outcome and to take action where needed. In some cases these will be measurable quantitative indicators, for example, in the electricity sector, the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources in Scotland. In other cases, these may be qualitative indicators describing progress made, for example, in the industry sector, improving the evidence base of the industrial sector in Scotland through initiatives under the Manufacturing Action Plan and SEEP.
  • Annual greenhouse gas emissions statistics. These statistics are published every year and inform the Scottish Government's report of whether each annual emissions reduction target has been met. These statistics are the ultimate measure of our progress in meeting our overarching aim to reduce emissions. The Scottish annual greenhouse gas emissions statistics are published 18 months following the end of the year to which they relate, and reflect policies and actions implemented prior to that. Some of the data used in the monitoring framework will relate to the same time period but other data will relate to the 12 months directly preceding publication, in which case it will not be possible to directly link the data from the monitoring framework and the annual greenhouse gas emission statistics.
  • External drivers. Policy outcomes will be achieved as a result of policies working in combination with external drivers including political, economic, technological and societal factors. For example, the UK's departure from the European Union is likely to have a significant impact across a range of policies in the Plan. Where appropriate, external drivers will be included to provide an explanation for progress, such as relevant technological advances.
  • Monitoring reserved climate policies. Implementation of the Climate Change Plan is reliant on a combination of international, EU, UK and Scottish policy. The monitoring framework has been designed to understand and improve the delivery of Scottish Government climate policy. However, it will also capture the progress made under UK, EU and international policy direction, where relevant.
  • Further indicators will be considered as the policies in this Plan mature and proposals are developed into policies. For example, Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme ( SEEP) is being developed and we will publish a route map in 2018 setting out clear milestones for the programme; the monitoring framework will be updated to take these milestones into account.

Governance of the Monitoring Framework

We made a commitment in the draft Plan to set up a Governance Body to oversee the monitoring and implementation of the Climate Change Plan. The Governance Body will have an important role in ensuring that we remain on track towards delivering our policy outcomes and continue to improve policy design and implementation.

The key functions will be:

  • Reviewing monitoring information and other relevant data to assess progress against policy outcomes in the Climate Change Plan.
  • Providing advice to Scottish Ministers on the monitoring information – including where significant adjustments to policy might be required and how those adjustments might be made.
  • Producing an annual monitoring report for publication on the Scottish Government website.

This Body will be made up of senior Scottish Government officials representing the key sectors in the Plan, and a non-Scottish Government representative to provide an independent overview and external scrutiny of the monitoring process. The Body will report to the Scottish Ministers and may engage with and seek input or advice as appropriate from any external body including the Committee on Climate Change, who will continue to provide independent advice to the Scottish Government.

The suite of monitoring indicators in this Plan and our overall monitoring approach will be subject to ongoing review and we will continue working with the Committee on Climate Change and the Scottish Parliament to ensure robust and effective monitoring of the Plan's implementation.


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