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.

Chapter 3 Transport - 3.3. Transport


3.3.1 There are unique challenges to reaching net zero emissions in transport. It continues to be Scotland’s biggest emitting sector, accounting for 35.6% of emissions in 2018[62], and will always be essential in enabling people to move around and meet their daily needs. It is a derived demand: where people live, work, learn and access goods and services are all key to the need to travel. Additionally, the technological solutions in certain modes, such as aviation, maritime and heavy goods vehicles, are in the early stages of development, and substantial innovation is required to bring them to market. However, these challenges reflect the fundamental importance of transport and, as a society, we must work through them to enable Scotland to reach net zero emissions by 2045. This target presents an opportunity to continue on the trajectory established by the first fall in transport emissions since 2013[63], and reduce emissions while stimulating the economy. It will allow us to instil substantial improvements across society, including for local partners, businesses and individuals, with benefits to health, wellbeing and the economy.

3.3.2 Our National Transport Strategy (NTS2), published on 5 February[64], sets our direction for Scotland’s transport over the next two decades and embeds taking climate action as a core priority while also prioritising reducing inequalities, helping to deliver inclusive economic growth, and improving our health and wellbeing. NTS2 sets out our vision for transport and is clear about the need to reduce unsustainable travel. This strategic aim will guide our actions as we address climate change, respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure a just transition to net zero emissions.

3.3.3 Whilst a key focus will be on technological advances to green vehicles in Scotland, it is self-evident that managing transport demand and embedding behaviour change will also be of vital importance. Cars currently account for almost 40% of transport emissions[65], therefore, the predominance of car use cannot be overlooked. NTS2 commits us to look beyond technological developments and clearly states that the Scottish Government will not build infrastructure to cater for forecasts of unconstrained increases in traffic volumes. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has also recommended that we reduce the demand for less sustainable transport modes and therefore, following the sustainable travel hierarchy, we will continue to promote active travel and a shift to more sustainable modes, while deprioritising single-occupancy car use.

New context

3.3.4 COVID-19 has had a profound impact on transport. The reasons for how, why and when people travel have been fundamentally changed. Demand for public transport reduced by up to 95% during lockdown in March to June 2020[66], resulting in significant Scottish Government funding support being required for public transport operators as passenger fare revenues reduced.

3.3.5 Ongoing equalities impact assessments show that certain groups, women and disabled people in particular, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and lockdown measures[67], and future transport policy needs to ensure these groups are supported.

3.3.6 Additionally, low confidence in public transport, the uncertainty over how long that will last, and the continuing dominance of private car use, present significant challenges. In Transport Scotland’s Covid Public Attitude Survey, 75% of people were very or fairly concerned about contracting or spreading the virus while using public transport, and private car or van has continued to be the main mode of transport used across most trip purposes[68]. Transport Scotland will continue to ensure that mitigation measures are in place to reduce the risk of transmission on public transport, and monitor emerging evidence on the matter. However, we understand that concerns around using public transport are likely to remain alongside continuing uncertainties due to COVID-19.

3.3.7 However, amid the disruption, the pandemic has presented opportunities to live and work differently. There has been a mass shift to home working in some professions. ONS’ latest research on homeworking found that 44% of Scotland’s workforce were working from home in April 2020 compared to 4% in 2019.[69] Furthermore, Transport Scotland found that 36% of people agree that they will work from home more often in the future.[70] This provides an opportunity to consider how remote and flexible working could offer benefits for people in a variety of jobs, while reducing demand for commuter travel. Such trends have been adopted quickly due to the pandemic in certain professions, though evidence is still emerging on the wider implications for some jobs or people’s personal circumstances. The Scottish Government will monitor such developments closely, and we are already working across portfolios to ensure consideration is given to the potential for increased use of heating and lighting in homes, and reviewing the health and wellbeing impacts of remote working, as well as the potential benefits. Sustained remote and local working practices could promote a better work/life balance and result in less exposure to air pollution, while also causing less congestion[71]. Reducing congestion, in turn, will allow public transport to run more smoothly and improve safety for active travel. The repurposing of existing buildings in town centres could also help renew local economies, and support a reimagining of city and town landscapes by encouraging more businesses and services to be based there and enabling people to visit.

3.3.8 It is not just passenger transport that has seen shifting trends during COVID-19, the logistics and freight sector has also been affected. Public messaging around people limiting their movements and their contact with others to reduce the potential for transmission has seen rises in online shopping. The use of e-commerce was already increasing before the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this trend accelerated as lockdown restrictions were imposed during the pandemic[72], with resultant vehicle movements needed to support it.

3.3.9 We know that the freight sector will have to respond to the increasing need to decarbonise through the use of new technologies and business models, as well as adapting to changing demands of consumers. Technologies and established markets for heavier zero emission vehicles, such as HGVs, are less developed than for cars, but are developing quickly. However, it is vital that we consider the impacts of recent trends in relation to e-commerce and their legacy as Scotland moves out of the pandemic. Scotland’s freight sector is fragmented and privately controlled, and therefore we must work collaboratively to promote solutions. There are ever-developing opportunities to make lower carbon deliveries, such as the introduction of consolidation centres, of pick-up and drop-off points, or the widespread use of e-bikes and cargo bikes. It is key that the Scottish Government, local authorities and the industry review the challenge holistically to develop comprehensive solutions.

3.3.10 We also want to move freight from road to rail where possible. Rail freight has been key in keeping critical goods such as food and medicines on the move during the pandemic, highlighting the role, importance and opportunities of moving freight by rail. In addition, there is increasing interest in the potential to bolster the movement of ‘light’ or ‘express’ freight by rail. We will work to maximise all opportunities for rail freight during our recovery from the pandemic.

3.3.11 The Scottish Government has already outlined a variety of measures which promote a place-based agenda and support localism, such as the 20 minute neighbourhood concept and the Work Local Programme (which builds on the Scotland Loves Local initiative). Among the benefits of this approach is to increase proximity of where people live, work, learn and access goods and services, reducing distances travelled and the need to travel unsustainably. Moreover, it is key that transport implications are a cornerstone of planning considerations and the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) is aimed at radically accelerating emissions reduction, including by directing future development to the right locations. On digital access, the Scottish Government has a host of investments and initiatives to support individuals and businesses to promote digital connectivity (including the Reaching 100% Programme, Scottish 4G Infill Programme), digital adaptation, and to tackle digital exclusion, with the Digital Strategy for Scotland currently out for consultation. The Scottish Government implemented programmes to support a shift to sustainable transport modes via the £39 million Spaces for People Programme to allow people to physically distance, while also keeping them safe from traffic whilst exercising, shopping or commuting. Reduction in car traffic also benefits bus performance through reduced congestion. The £10 million Bus Priority Rapid Deployment Fund has therefore been introduced to maximise the efficiency of available bus operations as traffic levels increased from early lockdown levels. Our 2020-2021 Programme for Government outlines legacy funding to build on the momentum of these investments in future years.

Green recovery and just transition

3.3.12 The transport sector can play a key role in delivering Scotland’s green recovery from the pandemic and ensuring a just transition. The CCC recommended the Scottish Government leads a shift to positive long-term behaviours, including encouraging home working and providing active travel infrastructure[73]. Ensuring more people choose active and sustainable travel will not only result in fewer emissions, but can also promote healthier lifestyles and better equality of access to transport connections. Helping to give people access to bikes and e-bikes, particularly in areas of multiple deprivation, can drive equality and promote physical activity, and there are substantial Scottish Government measures already in place for us to build on.

3.3.13 People in low income households are more likely to travel by bus, while those in higher income households are more likely to travel by car, a trend that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. The Scottish Government is taking a broad suite of actions to promote bus use and the policies and outcomes in this plan take bold additional steps forward. The Just Transition Commission recommended rapid roll-out of the over £500 million committed on bus priority infrastructure and indeed we have launched the Bus Partnership Fund and are expediting work on reallocation of road space on the motorway network around Glasgow. Bus usage also tends to be more active than a car journey as travelling by bus typically involves a walk to or from the bus stop. Therefore the resurgence of a healthy bus network in our recovery from COVID-19 s vital to securing a just transition and delivering our vision for a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system.

3.3.14 In terms of job creation, economic development and promoting a green recovery there are opportunities in transport regarding technological innovation. Furthermore, working across the finance, manufacturing and innovation sectors can help utilise market mechanisms to impact positive change in our efforts to decarbonise transport. The Scottish Government’s work to promote investment in zero emissions buses is one such example. Moreover, investments such as the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme can help support domestic manufacturing, with Alexander Dennis Ltd being a significant employer in central Scotland, in what has been a turbulent economic backdrop emanating from the global health pandemic.

3.3.15 The CCC recommended that a long-term vision for hydrogen is set out for Scotland’s future. Transport Scotland has launched Scotland’s Hydrogen Accelerator Programme, which attracts technical experts to Scotland to scale up the deployment of hydrogen technologies in Scotland. This supports a just transition by growing the Scottish supply chain, encouraging inward investment and creating jobs, while also developing skills and expertise. We are also funding a joint project with Scottish Enterprise and the University of St Andrews on the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to rail traction. Additionally, the Just Transition Commission recommended that an enhanced and accelerated national plan for charging infrastructure should be implemented to support the electrification of road transport. The Scottish Government already has a firm foundation of bold action, with the actions of this Plan update taking further strides forward.

Positive vision for 2032 and 2045

3.3.16 In keeping with the National Transport Strategy vision, Scotland’s transport system must encourage people to make travel choices that minimise the long-term impacts on our climate and improve the lives of future generations by reducing inequalities and improving health. The derived nature of transport exemplifies how critical it is for climate policies to be firmly embedded within the transport system to enable people to access jobs, services and opportunities with less need to travel or, when they do, to have easily-accessible sustainable options.

3.3.17 By 2032 our roads will contain no new petrol and diesel cars and vans; we will have almost completely decarbonised our passenger railways; and we will have begun to work to decarbonise challenging transport modes, such as HGVs, ferries and aviation. Car kilometres will have reduced by 20%, and sustainable transport will be the instinctive first choice for people. Our research into biofuels and hydrogen will have stimulated private investment and innovation. By 2032, the pendulum will have swung away from the dominance of private car use, particularly single occupancy, to a society which has embraced more walking, wheeling, cycling, public transport and shared transport options, particularly in urban settings. We will reduce reliance on cars in Scotland to reduce emissions but where people do use private cars, these will predominantly be electric and be in rural settings where public transport is less accessible.

3.3.18 By 2045, in line with our vision in NTS2, we will have a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, business and visitors. The Sustainable Travel and Investment Hierarchies (below) will have informed infrastructure development and ensure that transport options focus on reducing inequalities and the need to travel unsustainably. We will not have catered for unconstrained increases in traffic volumes and will first make best use of existing assets. Consequently, our future vision encompasses improved transport and planning approaches, better utilisation of space and place-setting, and enhanced digital connectivity.

The Sustainable Travel Hierarchy
The sustainable travel hierarchy, showing the Scottish Government's priorities in transport policy decision making, promoting walking, wheeling, cycling, public transport and shared transport options in preference to single occupancy private car use.
The Sustainable Investment Hierarchy
The Sustainable Investment Hierarchy, used to inform future investment decisions and ensure transport options that focus on reducing inequalities and the need to travel unsustainably are prioritised.
Emissions Reduction Pathway to 2032
The target-consistent emissions-reduction pathway for the transport sector to 2032


£500 million investment in active travel projects over five years with £39 million invested through the Spaces for People programme in 2020.

£9 million Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Fund.

£500 million to improve bus priority infrastructure.


Publication of a route map to meet reduction of 20% car km by 2030.

Zero Emission heavy duty vehicle programme established and investment in new zero drivetrain testing facility.

£120 million over the next five years for Zero Emission Buses.


Majority of new buses are zero emissions.


Need for any new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles in public bodies phased out.

Delivery of our first Active Freeways: segregated active travel routes on main travel corridors.


Need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans phased out. Car kilometres reduced by 20%.

Conditions created to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland’s public sector fleet.


Scotland’s passenger rail services considerably decarbonised, with just a few years to go until they are fully decarbonised.

The actions we are taking

Reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030

3.3.19 Achieving our vision for 2032 and beyond will take cross-sectoral effort which goes beyond transport, reducing people’s need to travel with more local access to goods and services. Likewise, digital connectivity and flexible working approaches will play a key role. The Scottish Government is therefore announcing this new commitment to reduce car kilometres on Scotland’s roads through improved transport and planning approaches, better utilisation of space and place-setting, enhanced digital connectivity and an increased location-focus. At this time, COVID-19 is creating significant uncertainty on future transport trends and people’s behaviours, including work and lifestyle choices. Therefore, assuming the health pandemic has moved to a phase to allow more certainty regarding future forecasting, a route map to meet this reduction will be published in 2021. This complements our commitment to develop our 20-minute neighbourhoods and our Work Local Programme[74].

3.3.20 These actions will support innovation in workplaces to better enable flexible and remote working. In keeping with our commitment not to plan infrastructure for unconstrained traffic demand[75], phase 1 of the second Strategic Transport Project Review (STPR2) will be published in early 2021. It will begin the process of reviewing the best use of existing assets and consider what new infrastructure may or may not need to be built. STPR2 will cover the strategic road and rail networks, and national infrastructure investment to support active travel and island connectivity, as well as providing an evidence base for investment decisions. It will also align with our fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), with its spatial plan and planning policies delivering carbon conscious places.

3.3.21 Initiatives to promote active travel and public transport will aid a shift to more sustainable choices and help to reduce reliance on cars. To encourage modal shift we will invest over £500 million in bus priority infrastructure[76] to tackle the negative impacts of congestion on bus services and raise bus usage. As part of this, last month we launched the Bus Partnership Fund[77] to support local authorities to achieve their ambitions around bus priority in partnership with bus operators. We are also progressing work to provide bus priority on the trunk road network, initially via managed motorways focussing around Glasgow. We remain committed to delivering a National Concessionary Travel Scheme for free bus travel for young people aged under 19[78], and have begun the necessary preparations, including planning, undertaking a consultation, legal review and due diligence. A review of discounts available on public transport to those under the age of 26[79] has also begun, due for completion by the end of this year. Both of these projects will have social benefits and will help to embed positive travel behaviours in younger people before they adapt to using a private car.

3.3.22 To support transformational active travel projects we have boosted our commitments on active travel, with a five year investment of over £500 million[80], including infrastructure, access to bikes and behaviour change schemes. On infrastructure, we will promote a consolidated approach, aligning with the corresponding bus measures, to promote a coherent transport network. We want local authorities to develop ambitious joined-up plans across bus and active travel so they make sense as a whole. This will enable the delivery of high quality and safe walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure. To build on this we are committing an additional £50 million to ‘Active Freeways’ which will involve identification and design development of the strategic active travel network, to provide segregated active travel routes on main travel corridors to city and town centres and major trip attractors linking communities throughout Scotland. Education and advocacy to encourage more people to choose active and sustainable travel will also be vital, and we will continue to support the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme to encourage this behaviour change[81]. On cycling, we are offering new support to increase access to bikes for all including the provision of public bike and e-bike share schemes, particularly in areas of multiple deprivation and support the use of e-bikes and adapted bikes through interest free loans, grants and trials[82]. We will support the provision of child and adult cycle training and safety programmes including driver awareness training[83]. To help increase confidence in active travel choices, we will publish Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030, following consultation on an ambitious and compelling long‑term vision for road safety where there are zero fatalities or serious injuries on Scotland’s roads by 2050[84].

3.3.23 We will continue to develop and promote awareness of the role and benefits of shared transport such as car clubs and promote bike sharing, ride sharing and multi-modal journeys. This will be supported by Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and promotion of peer-to-peer car sharing[85]. We are harnessing innovation within our transport system, investing up to £2 million over three years to develop MaaS in Scotland, and we are grant-funding CoMoUK, to increase awareness of the role and benefits of shared transport and look at the barriers to uptake of car clubs. We also have a new commitment to support the monitoring requirement for the National Transport Strategy set out in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, and to further our understanding of how and why people travel we will invest in data and develop a data strategy.

3.3.24 We will take forward policy consultation in advance of drafting regulations and guidance to enable local authorities to implement workplace parking levy schemes that suit their local requirements[86]. Transport Scotland will also have a new commitment to work with local authorities to continue to ensure that their parking and local transport strategies have proper appreciation of the needs of climate change, as well as the impact of road users, including public transport operators, disabled motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Phase out the need for petrol and diesel cars and vans in Scotland by 2030

3.3.25 We have boosted this target from 2032 to 2030 in line with the CCC’s recommendation in its 2020 Progress Report for Scotland[87]. We are already delivering a range of measures to address the key barriers to Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) uptake, including investing £30 million to establish the fourth largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the UK (measured by market share) and delivering our Low Carbon Transport Loan which continues to transform demand for electric vehicles across Scotland and has already provided over £80 million of funding to support the switch to low carbon vehicles[88]. Our new focus on used vehicles will help households, who may otherwise be put off by the higher purchase price of ULEVs, benefit from the cheaper running costs associated. We will consider and develop new financing and delivery models for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Scotland and are working with the Scottish Futures Trust to do so[89]. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the uptake of ULEVs in the taxi and private hire sector, promote the benefits of EVs to individuals and fleet operators and invest in innovation to support the development of ULEV technologies. Additionally, we will take forward the initiatives in respect of connected and autonomous vehicles set out in the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Roadmap for Scotland[90].

3.3.26 We have a boosted commitment to work with public bodies to phase out the need for any new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles by 2025[91] and to create the conditions to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland’s public sector fleet by 2030[92]. Our existing Switched on Fleets programme has supported the decarbonisation of almost 2500 vehicles in Scotland’s fleets to date. We will continue to support the public sector to lead the way in transitioning to EVs including using public procurement to support decarbonisation.

Case Study: Giving Bus the Priority it Deserves

Bus services are vital to a just transition to net zero. Bus is used proportionately more by people in lower socio-economic groups, a large number of people rely upon bus services for all manner of journeys, and, crucially, a full double decker can remove 75 single occupancy cars from the road. Cars account for 40% of Scotland’s transport emissions[93].

We are supporting mode shift from car to bus through over £500 million of long term bus priority infrastructure funding to tackle the negative effects of congestion on bus, so that bus journeys are quicker, more punctual and reliable. The Bus Partnership Fund is also intended to bring forward further action and investment from local authorities and bus operators to provide their communities with an even better alternative to car use.

In parallel, the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, made up of leaders from the bus, finance and energy sectors, are co-designing the pathway to a zero-emission bus fleet. This year Scottish Enterprise provided Alexander Dennis Ltd with £10 million in R&D grant support for manufacture of ultra-low emission buses, and the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Scheme is supporting the purchase of 41 new electric buses, of which 35 will be manufactured in Scotland.

To reduce emissions in the freight sector, we will work with the industry to understand the most efficient methods and remove the need for new petrol and diesel heavy vehicles by 2035.

3.3.27 Freight accounts for 25% of transport emissions in Scotland[94]. Additionally, we have seen a rapid increase in online shopping and e-commerce across Scotland during COVID-19[95]. Therefore, helping to decarbonise the movement of goods and our overall logistics network are central pillars to Scotland’s efforts to reach its emissions reduction targets. Work has begun on this, and we have committed to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel vans by 2030 (as outlined above). To complement this, we have a new policy to engage widely across industries to create opportunities for changing technologies and innovations in logistics, such as consolidation centres, to reduce carbon emissions. We also have a new commitment to explore the development of green finance models to help draw private sector investment in zero-carbon solutions for the movement of goods. We will continue to work with public bodies, the automotive sector and Scotland’s innovation community to explore effective solutions to reduce emissions from the freight sector and make a significant positive contribution to the net zero target. We have a new commitment to establish a Zero Emission Heavy Duty Vehicle Programme with Scottish Enterprise to support innovation in the Scottish supply chain and will invest in a new zero emission drive train testing facility in 2021[96]. We will also continue to deliver on the actions from our Rail Freight Strategy, consolidating and furthering our progress to date demonstrating how a shift from road freight to rail can be an important part of the solution. We are supporting rail freight with innovative regulatory targets to encourage growth and significant investment, including a £25 million ring-fenced fund for the period 2019 to 2024[97], helping to unlock opportunities for rail freight across the country. Since 2019, freight capacity has been improved across Scotland and the Freight Facilities Grant and Mode Shift Revenue Support schemes remain available to companies; they have already enabled rail freight services to remove millions of lorry miles from our roads.

3.3.28 We have also supported various trials and demonstrations of ultra-low emission heavy duty vehicles not connected with freight (such as refuse collections vehicles and gritters). We have established the Zero-Emission Mobility Industry Advisory Group, and this year we launched the new Hydrogen Accelerator Programme[98] to help scale up and quicken the deployment of hydrogen technologies across multiple vehicles types.

We will work with the newly formed Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, comprised of leaders from the bus, energy and finance sectors, to ensure that the majority of new buses purchased from 2024 are zero-emission, and to bring this date forward if possible.

3.3.29 The Climate Change Plan 2018 policy outcome on ultra-low or zero emission buses has been boosted and we will work with the bus, finance and energy sectors to ensure that the majority of new buses purchased from 2024 are zero-emission, and to bring this date forward if possible. Since the Climate Change Plan 2018 was published, we have held a workshop on opportunities from a just transition of the sector to zero emissions and commissioned analysis which shows that the whole-life costs of battery-electric buses are approaching parity with diesel vehicles. We have also revised the green incentive of the Bus Service Operators Grant, run an initial round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme and established a Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce. The Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce is made up of leaders from the bus, finance and energy sectors and has one year to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet, identifying solutions to any remaining hurdles. We recognise the impact that COVID-19 has had on the sector and supply-chain and over the period of the Climate Change Plan and we will work to align government financial support of £120 million over the next 5 years with private sector investment to decarbonise the bus sector in a way that is good for passengers, businesses, and the workforce, as well as the climate.

We will work to decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040.

3.3.30 This new commitment aims to create the world’s first zero emission aviation region, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)[99], including action to decarbonise HIAL’s airport operations. We will also support trialling and the introduction of low or zero emission aircrafts[100] to support cost-reductions for decarbonisation, with a view to securing economic opportunities for Scotland. We have a new commitment to explore the potential for the purchase of zero/low emission aircraft by the Scottish Government, for lease back to operators, with more detailed assessment in the forthcoming Aviation Strategy. Moreover, as part of that strategy, we also make a new commitment to explore options for incentivising the use of more sustainable aviation fuel, recognising that significant levers in this area are reserved.

3.3.31 The Scottish Government will continue to engage with the Aviation sector to encourage sustainable growth in the recovery from COVID-19. We note the CCC’s recommendation on demand management in relation to aviation emissions[101], and as we work with the aviation industry to help restore connectivity, we will do so in a way that reduces the environmental effects of aviation growth, both in the air and on the ground.

30% of Scottish Government owned ferries will be low emission by 2032

3.3.32 We commit to continue to examine the scope for utilising hybrid and low carbon energy sources in the public sector marine fleet as part of our vessel replacement programme. We also have a new commitment to work with the UK Government to support proposals at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to significantly lower shipping carbon emissions in the global sector, including the option of introducing a global levy on marine fuel to fund research in cleaner technologies and fuels[102].

By 2032 low emissions solutions will be widely adopted at Scottish ports

3.3.33 We will achieve this with our new policy to work with individual ports and the British Ports Association to consider a process for encouraging shared best practice initiatives for reducing emissions across the sector. Additionally, we will work with the ports sector and with its statutory consultees through the Harbour Order process to ensure future port developments are environmentally underpinned.

Scotland’s passenger rail services will be decarbonised by 2035.

3.3.34 We have boosted our commitment to decarbonise Scotland’s passenger rail services by 2035[103], which will be delivered through investment in electrification (also benefitting rail freight) and complementary alternative traction systems. In July this year, Transport Scotland published the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan, which builds on the significant rail electrification programme that has already removed a large number of diesel trains across the central belt, and encourages the conversion of freight from carbon-fuelled road-based vehicles to electric rail-based traction. Work is ongoing by industry partners to develop the initial schemes. We will establish an international rail cluster in Scotland to unlock supply chain opportunities using the interest at Longannet as a catalyst. This will be built around existing strengths in rail in Scotland and will seek to enhance the innovation and supply chain in the decarbonisation of our rolling stock and wider network.

Our call to others

The UK Government

3.3.35 Decarbonising the transport sector will require substantial action by the UK Government in areas where key powers remain reserved. In addition to the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans the UK Government must take action in other areas. The UK Government must continue promoting parity with the EU’s car and van CO2 targets following full departure from the EU later this year, and set stretching CO2 targets for new cars and vans beyond 2020, requiring a high electric vehicle market share. Additionally we call on the UK Government to implement policies, including fiscal instruments, to strengthen incentives to purchase cleaner vehicles, including loan schemes. This will enable progression towards a complete discontinuation of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. We are also seeking further investment in public and active travel, including in high speed rail connections to Scotland, connecting communities and decreasing the need for single-occupancy car journeys.

3.3.36 Fuel duty has a direct influence on the attractiveness of buying and running a petrol or diesel car. It is a wholly reserved matter and the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland’s 2020 report[104] recommended that ‘To enable a managed transition to an inclusive net zero carbon economy road infrastructure, the Scottish and UK Governments should immediately commit to work together to establish a charging/payment regime alternative to the existing fuel and road taxation based structure’. The Scottish Government has welcomed this proposal and the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity has made representations to the UK Government in order to seek to progress on it. To enable reduced private car use, we will continue to press the UK Government to review options on Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty, in the context of the need to end unsustainable travel and potential revenue generation therefrom.

3.3.37 If the UK Government joined Scotland in setting stretching targets for emissions reductions from new HGVs, it would address the rise in emissions and enable businesses to exploit opportunities to improve logistics and increase the uptake of eco-driving. Moreover, we are calling on the UK Government to continue to invest in pilot and early stage roll-out of hydrogen projects and to develop a strategic approach to refuelling infrastructure, as well as continuing to support developments in biofuel technology. This will enable the full decarbonisation of technologically challenging modes, such as HGVs.

3.3.38 We call on the UK Government to commit to a UK ETS (as discussed in more detail in the Industry chapter) that, together with the international arrangements being developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), continues to incentivise decarbonisation of international aviation.

Scottish public sector organisations

3.3.39 The Scottish Government recognises the vital relationship between national, regional and local public sector organisations in achieving transport emissions reductions. We have already been working with local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships on this, including on the collaborative development of the National Transport Strategy (NTS). The NTS provides the strategic context of decision-making that allows local and regional authorities to continue their work to decarbonise transport and reduce transport emissions.

3.3.40 Public Sector bodies recognise the level of ambition required to see the scale of change needed on transport, as Scotland’s largest emitting sector. Community engagement and participation, for example through local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships, will be increasingly important to garner support for this shift, delivering local measures that encourage use of active and sustainable transport and reduce car use. Transport Scotland will also work with these key local and regional partners to continue to ensure that local and regional transport strategies that are developed or updated, e.g. parking strategies, support transport’s contribution to Scotland’s climate change targets. For example, we have recently seen the Spaces for People fund used by local authorities to support temporary road space re-allocation for active travel, and we will work with local authorities on permanent schemes where appropriate. We will also work closely with local authorities on the further measures that will necessary to dissuade car use; for example, bus prioritisation in town centres and parking restrictions.

3.3.41 Local authorities can implement Low Emissions Zones where Air Quality Management Areas exist, reducing access to the most polluting vehicles. Councils also have decriminalised parking enforcement options and can implement pay-and-display and other parking regulations are part of their local strategies or approaches to transport management. The Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) provisions contained in Part 7 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 provide local authorities with discretionary powers to implement a WPL scheme once commencement and supporting regulations are in place.

3.3.42 Furthermore, we will continue to support local authorities to green their bus, HGV and other vehicle fleets and encourage them to embrace this change, while also considering further additional ways to reach net zero in their localities. This may include looking at implementing new infrastructure, such as consolidation centres, expanding electric vehicle infrastructure or continuing to help change behaviours through parking regulations or education campaigns. Scotland’s seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) also have a strategic role to play in the public sector on reducing transport emissions. The RTPs are listed as relevant public authorities required to publish an annual report on their climate change duties as required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

3.3.43 There are legacy transport and related environmental issues with how our existing cities, towns and wider settlements, including business and industry, have evolved. We need to do all we can to support liveable places and employment locations which are accessible by walking, wheeling and public transport, discouraging car use, while continuing to ensure appropriate access for those with reduced mobility. We will therefore support local authorities to consider the implications for transport when making spatial planning and land use decisions, strengthening application of the sustainable transport hierarchy to development proposals. We will also promote patterns of development which help us to transition towards local, low carbon living and working patterns, including by applying the 20 minute neighbourhood concept. This includes prioritising development in locations that are well located in relation to existing infrastructure and services, as well as considering where we locate new schools, workplaces, shops and services using a place-based approach to reduce the need to travel. It is also particularly important that local authorities have regard for roads around schools and consider how to disincentivise car use in these areas.

3.3.44 We will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that when planning decisions are made they are supported by stronger policies that prioritise accessibility and sustainable modes of travel, avoiding building-in car dependency. This will further embed the vision and priorities of the National Transport Strategy within the development planning process, and will have a positive impact on choices about the types of journeys we make, when we make them and how we make them, delivering long-term benefits to air quality, emissions reduction and improving physical and mental health.

Scottish businesses and industry

3.3.45 Achieving Scotland’s emissions reductions targets, both in the transport sector and more widely, is a national endeavour with all sections of society having a role to play. Scottish businesses and industry are vital to our successful economy, and transport connects businesses and communities together. We want to work with businesses and industry to enable them to invest in and implement policies that will help Scotland to reach our targets as part of a green recovery from the pandemic, while also improving the health and wellbeing of their employees.

3.3.46 The CCC has recommended that a green recovery requires businesses to explore and disclose climate risks and to make plans[105]. We are asking businesses to consider flexible or remote working practices where these are viable and do not adversely affect business model and to examine closely the potential for business travel plans to be developed and implemented. We are also asking businesses to support employees to reduce the number of flights taken for business purposes and to enable digital connectivity solutions in place of these meetings. The Scottish Government encourages businesses to consider how their employees commute, and to support and incentivise employees to choose walking, cycling and/or public transport for commuting, as well as for business journeys. Where possible, we also encourage businesses to support and/or incentivise employees to access zero emission transport to work, and to help address affordability of transport as a barrier to employability. The Scottish Business Pledge[106] already exists, and we are asking businesses to take forward the environmental aspects of it.

3.3.47 Businesses in Scotland import, manufacture, produce and then transport and export goods around the country and beyond, including key Scottish exports that are essential to our economy. We ask that businesses consider ways to reduce their transport emissions: where possible, businesses should use rail rather than road to transport goods to market, and support consolidation centres in relation to freight and e-commerce. There are also opportunities around last mile deliveries to electrify van fleets, or to use e-cargo bikes to deliver more locally. Furthermore, we encourage businesses to welcome 20-minute neighbourhoods and set up businesses locally to encourage people to shop, live and work nearby.


3.3.48 Individuals have a significant contribution to make to help reduce emissions from transport. We therefore ask that individuals to consider their transport choices holistically and to consider their need to travel on a daily basis. For instance, when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, those who can may consider working remotely some of the week and use online conferencing facilities, rather than travel for employment and business purposes. This will reduce commuter travel and consequential emissions. When travelling to work, we are encourage individuals to leave the car at home where possible, and use public transport, walk or cycle for those journeys. Similarly, when travelling to school or for leisure purposes, and especially for short journeys, where you can we ask that you take the bus, cycle or walk. The Scottish Government also asks that you consider your discretionary travel and work, shop and socialise locally, wherever possible. This will help reduce emissions from driving to other more distant locations, and has the potential to help revitalise local communities. Our recently published National Planning Framework 4 position statement sets out that a significant shift is required to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and the key opportunities to achieve this including removing the need for planning permission for active travel and electric vehicle charging points so that we can roll-out new infrastructure widely and quickly[107].

International engagement

3.3.49 We recognise that the Scottish transport sector cannot be decarbonised without international engagement. Reducing emissions from aviation and shipping in particular will require an international policy approach. We will continue to engage through the UK Government with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce the environmental impacts of aviation and shipping. For other sectors we will seek to engage with countries and cities around the world in order to share good practice. We will continue to work with international organisations such as the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance to accelerate collective and timely action to reduce transport emissions worldwide.



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