Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 - update

This update to Scotland's 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan sets out the Scottish Government's pathway to our new and ambitious targets set by the Climate Change Act 2019. It is a key strategic document on our green recovery from COVID-19.

Annex B: Monitoring Framework

This element of the Plan update represents an important step in the ongoing improvement of the Monitoring Framework set out in the 2018 Plan for tracking progress to delivery of the policies. It includes:

  • an adjustment to the definitions of different types of indicators from those used in the 2018 Plan, to more clearly distinguish their purpose; and
  • a revised set of policy outcome indicators that reflect the content of the updated Plan.


Monitoring implementation is vital to ensure that the policies in the Climate Change Plan are making progress towards meeting Scotland’s emissions reduction targets in a way that is delivering a just transition to net zero.

The Climate Change Plan 2018-32 included a monitoring framework for the first time and embedded indicators for policies for each sector. This framework has been the basis of two published Climate Change Plan Monitoring Reports, in October 2018 and December 2019.

Section 35B of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (as amended by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019) places annual progress reporting on a statutory footing, with reports for each sector to be produced and laid in Parliament from May 2021 onwards. The updated monitoring framework, as set out below, will underpin the assessments of progress made in these reports.

The Committee on Climate Change will also continue to produce independent, annual reports on Scotland’s progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets (the most recent such report was published in October 2020).

The structure of the Monitoring Framework:

The updated Monitoring Framework for the Climate Change Plan for sectors is structured on three levels: greenhouse gas emissions statistics provide the highest-level measure of progress at an economy-wide and sectoral level; a suite of policy outcome indicators measure the success of policies in achieving the changes that are needed; and a policy tracker monitoring implementation of specific policies and proposals.

The updated Framework also includes cross-sectoral monitoring of social and economic indicators to focus on impacts on workforce, employers and communities. This will enable us to monitor progress towards our just transition objectives.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics

Official Statistics on Scottish greenhouse gas emissions determine progress towards national emissions reduction targets and also provide information on total annual emissions at a sectoral level. Statistics are published annually, typically in June, and two years in arrears. For example, the most recent figures, published in June 2020, cover emissions during 2018[157].

Policy Outcome Indicators

The Plan includes key policy outcomes for each sector, defined as a measurable change on the ground resulting from a policy or combination of related policies. The Framework will measure progress towards achieving these with a set of policy outcome indicators[158].

A policy outcome indicator is a specific, objective measure closely aligned to achieving the outcome. It will underpin monitoring of long-term progress towards the outcome, but should also be responsive to change in the near-term, so that it can be used to evaluate whether the Plan is on track. Specific milestones (or targets) are set, where appropriate, for the level of the indicator to be achieved at a given time.

In this update, the set of outcome indicators from the 2018 Plan were reviewed to ensure that they reflect the updated policy commitments and to improve the quality and clarity of indicators. This has led to new outcome indicators being identified, others being revised, and a few being removed where they were no longer appropriate or there were significant issues with robustness. The overall set of outcome indicators is now 39, up from 29 previously used for the 2018 Plan.

A revised set of outcome indicators for the updated Plan is out below.

Policy outcome indicators help to answer the question: are we seeing the results – the change on the ground – that we expected?

Policy Tracker

The Plan includes a set of specific policies and proposals for each sector to achieve the policy outcomes. The Framework will monitor progress towards implementing policies and developing proposals with a policy tracker, which will be set out for annual progress reporting, from May 2021. This will consistently record progress and next steps for policies, and where possible it will include implementation indicators for specific policies.

Policy implementation indicators will help us to measure whether a policy’s course of actions is delivering the intended outputs. This can be used to identify whether policies are being implemented as expected, and to focus attention on potential issues. Implementation indicators will be updated as part of annual progress reporting.

Policy implementation indicators help to answer the question: are we doing what we said we would do?

Cross-Sectoral Social and Economic Indicators

The actions needed to become net zero by 2045 will transform all sectors of our economy and society. We recognise the need to further develop appropriate monitoring at both cross-cutting and sector level to better track progress in these areas. However, for the near-term we will use the existing Office of National Statistics: Low Carbon Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) data set, including business turnover and jobs, to begin annual monitoring of the impacts on the wider economy and livelihoods as we transition to net zero.

Principles of the Monitoring Framework

The monitoring framework is guided by a set of principles that inform both its design and its ongoing use in assessment of progress. These are:

1. It will assess both the efficiency of policy implementation (are we doing what we said we’d do?) and whether this is effective in achieving policy outcomes (are we getting the results we expected?).

2. It will underpin annual progress reports assessment of whether we are ‘on track’ in the short-term, as well as providing an on-going basis for consistent monitoring of progress to long-term outcomes.

3. Our policy objectives will be SMART[159] (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited) so that they are suitable for monitoring and evaluation.

4. It will gather the data needed to give reliable and consistent measurement, while being proportionate to policies and varying data availability.

5. We will learn from the monitoring framework, using it to support improvement in policy design and delivery.

Alignment with the National Performance Framework

The National Performance Framework (NPF) sets the overall purpose and vision for Scotland and tracks progress using a set of National Indicators. The Climate Change Plan sets out Scotland’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with Scotland’s statutory targets, progress to which also directly underpins a National Indicator. The Monitoring Framework for the Plan allows more detailed tracking of progress to policy outcomes and implementation of specific policies across sectors. As the Plan aims to reduce emissions while achieving the broader purpose set by the NPF, there are also synergies across a wider range of other economic, social and environmental National Indicators.

Next steps

Annual progress reports on delivery of the updated Plan, on a sector by sector basis, will be published and laid in Parliament from May 2021 onwards. The content of those reports will be underpinned by the Monitoring Framework structure set out above, including the most up-to-date available information on sectoral emissions, the current set of policy outcome indicators, and relevant policy tracker information.

The Monitoring Framework itself will continue to develop as we learn from experience and as new sources of monitoring information become available. Cross-portfolio governance arrangements for the Framework, which will include oversight of the process for making any future adjustments to the set of indicators, remain under review and a further update on this will be provided to the Parliament in due course.

Sector Policy Outcome Indicators

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 Electricity grid intensity (CO2e per kilowatt hour) a Maintain below 50 g CO2e per kilowatt hour
1 Installed capacity of renewable generation (GW) a Year-to-year change
1 Renewable capacity at planning stages (GW: 3 categories) a Year-to-year change
2 Loss of Load Expectation (hours per year) b Maintain GB standard below 3 hours per year

Data Source: (a) Scottish Government Scottish Energy Statistics Hub; (b) National Grid Winter Outlook.

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 % heat in buildings from low greenhouse gas emission sources a Progress to target [TBC in 2021]i
1 % of buildings using low greenhouse gas emission heating systems a Year-to-year change
2 Energy intensity of residential buildings (MWh per household) b Progress to target [at least 30% by 2032]
2 Energy intensity of non-domestic buildings (GVA in the services sector per GWh) b Year-to-year change
2 % of homes with an EPC (EER, or equivalent) of at least C c Progress to 2035 target [all homes to have EPC C or higher where technically feasible and cost effective]
2 % new homes built with a calculated space heating demand of not more than 20 kWh/m²/yrT d Year-to-year change
3 % of Scottish gas demand accounted for by biomethane and hydrogen blended into the gas network a Year-to-year change
4 Percentage of households in fuel poverty e Progress to 2040 target [no more than 5%] interim 2030 [no more than 15%] 2035 [no more than 10%] targetsii

Notes: Where targets have not been set, we will aim to do so as we develop the indicators. (i) Target to be set in the Heat in Buildings Strategy expected summer 2021; (ii) set out in the Fuel Poverty Act with consideration of associated indicators on extreme fuel poverty and the fuel poverty gap.

Data Source: (a) Indicator in development; (b) Scottish Government Scottish Energy Statistics Hub; (c) Scottish Government Scottish House Condition Survey National Statistics; (d) EPC data provided on completion of each new home; (e) Scottish Government Scottish House Condition Survey National Statistics.

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 % reduction in car kilometres a Progress to target [20% reduction by 2030]i
2 % of new car registrations that are ULEV b Year-to-year change
2 % of new van registrations that are ULEV b Year-to-year change
3 % of new HGV registrations that are ULEV b Year-to-year change
4 % of new bus registrations that are ULEV b Progress to target [>50% by 2024]
5 % reduction in emissions from scheduled flights within Scotland c Year-to-year change
6 % of ferries that are low emissions d Progress to target [30% by 2032]
8 % of single track kilometres electrified e Progress to target [70% by 2034]
8 % of trains powered by alternative traction e Year-to-year change

Notes: Where we have been unable to set targets, Transport Scotland will aim to do so when the necessary data becomes available. Also: (i) from 2019 baseline.

Data Source: (a) Scottish Transport Statistics (Chapter 5); (b) Scottish Transport Statistics (Chapter 13); (c) Airline(s) operating scheduled flights within Scotland; (d) ad hoc Transport Scotland; (e) ad hoc Network Rail (Scotland)

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 Industrial energy productivity (£GVAm per GWh) a Progress to target [Increase 30% by 2032]i
1 Industrial emissions intensity (tCO2e per £GVAm) a Progress to target [Reduce 30% by 2032]i
2 % of Scottish gas demand accounted for by biomethane and hydrogen blended into the gas network b Based on trend

Notes: (i) from 2015 baseline.

Data Source: (a) Scottish Government Scottish Energy Statistics Hub; (b) Indicator in development

Waste and the Circular Economy
Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 Total amount of landfilled waste (tonnes) a Progress to target [no more than 5% of all waste to landfill by 2025]
1 Total amount of biodegradable landfilled waste (tonnes) b Year-to-year change + Progress to interim target [0 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled by 2026]
2 Number of closed landfill sites with exploratory landfill gas capture/flaring c Progress to target [12 by 2025]
3 Household and non-household food waste reduced (tonnes) a Progress to target [reduce all food waste by 33% by 2025]i
4 Total waste generated (tonnes) a Progress to target [reduce total waste by 15% by 2025]ii

Notes: (i) Reduce all food waste arising in Scotland on a per capita basis by 33% by 2025, based on 2013 baseline; (ii) By 2025 reduce total waste arising in Scotland by 15% against 2011 levels;

Data Source: (a) Waste from all sources – summary data 2018: SEPA; (b) Waste landfilled in Scotland 2019: SEPA; (c) ad hoc SEPA;

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
1 Hectares of woodland created per year a 2020/21 = 12,000 ha/yr 2021/22 = 13,500 ha/yr 2022/23 = 15,000 ha/yr 2023/24 = 16,500 ha/yr 2024/25 = 18,000 ha/yr
1 Woodland Ecological Condition a Year-to-year change
1 Woodland Carbon Code: Projected carbon sequestration (validated credits) a Progress to target (increase 50% by 2025)i
2 Annual volume (in millions of cubic metres) of Scottish produced sawn wood and panel boards used in construction a Progress to Targets [2020/21 = 2.6 million m3
2026/27 = 2.8 million m3
2031/32 = 3.0 million m3]
3 Hectares of peatland restored per year b 20,000 ha/yr ii
3 Peatland Carbon Code: Projected emissions reduction (validated units)c Year-to-year change

Notes: (i) carbon sequestration baseline March 2020; (ii) area of peatland restored is a proxy measure which doesn’t directly represent the reduction in emissions, an emissions reduction indicator may be adopted in the future. Also, the current per annum area restoration target figure is under review and may be increased, updates will be reflected in future annual reporting.

Data Source: (a) Forestry Statistics; (b) NatureScot will compile from Peatland Action, FLS, National Parks, Scottish Water and other sources; (c) IUCN Peatland Carbon Code Registry for the UK.

Outcome Indicator On-Track Assessment (Milestones/ Targets)
2 Increased engagement with Farm Advisory Services on environmental issues and climate change a Based on trend
3 Use of Nitrogen fertilisers i, b Based on trend
3 Spreading precision of Nitrogen fertilisers b Based on trend
4 Time taken from birth to slaughter and increased efficiency through improved health and reduced losses c Based on trend
5 Improvement in covered slurry storage d Based on trend
5 Precision application of manure and slurry b Based on trend
6 Hectares of peatland restored per year ii, e Year-to-year change
6 Area of woodland on agricultural land f Based on trend

Notes: We will be improving baseline data for this new set of indicators alongside ongoing policy development. Also: (i) Potential to use Scottish Nitrogen Balance Sheet: sectoral nitrogen use efficiency when developed; (ii) This replicates the LULUCF indicator for outcome 3, efforts will be made to monitor the % of restored peatland on agricultural land.

Data Source: (a) Farm Advisory Service: calls to advisory service about CC, use of Agrecalc tool, awareness of environmental issues; (b) British Survey of Fertiliser Practice; (c) Cattle Tracing Scheme (CTS); (d) The Survey of Agricultural Production Methods (SAPM); (e) NatureScot will compile from Peatland Action, FLS, National Parks, Scottish Water and other sources; (f) Agricultural Census/SAF.

Additional Notes:

1. It is intended that an `on track’ assessment (i.e. “on track”, “off track” or “too early to say”) will be made periodically for each outcome indicator – and will inform annual progress reporting. This assessment can be made by: (i) where appropriate, using annual milestones/targets that have been set for the indicator; (ii) using expert judgement to assess progress to a set target (e.g. 2025 or 2030); or (iii) where a target is either not possible or appropriate at present, using expert judgement to assess trends or level of change.

2. A set of criteria was used as a guide when reviewing outcome indicators to be included in this update. These were as follows:

  • Relevance: Is there is a clear relationship between the indicator(s) and the Climate Change Plan outcome?
  • Validity: Does the indicator measure what it purports to measure?
  • Credibility: Is the indicator based upon impartial, reliable sources?
  • Practicality: Can the data for the indicator be obtained with reasonable, feasible and affordable effort (for Scottish Government and for those providing the data)?
  • Clarity: Is the indicator easily understood? Is it clear what constitutes an improvement and a deterioration?
  • Sensitivity: Is the indicator precise enough to detect important changes over short to medium (1 to 5 year) time periods that are amenable to policy intervention?
  • Distinctiveness: Does the indicator measure something that is not already captured under other indicators?
  • Coverage: Does the indicator (or set of indicators) provide sufficient information to usefully assess progress on the outcome in question? Is anything missing?



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