New Transport Strategy offers 'absolutely no new actions on climate emissions'
The Scottish Government’s “vision” for the future of the nation’s transport system proposes nothing new for cutting climate emissions, campaigners have said.
The draft National Transport Strategy was released for public consultation today, setting out the government’s 20 year plan for a more “sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system” where the top priority is “protecting our climate and improving lives”.
The strategy draws attention to the increase in climate emissions from road and air travel, which contributes most of Scotland’s air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
While the strategy does acknowledge that the planet is facing “a global climate emergency” it does not make any new proposals for directly cutting emissions.
Transform Scotland, the national alliance for sustainable transport, which includes transport providers such as ferry operator Calmac, Edinburgh Trams and Scotrail has criticized the new strategy, saying that the plan offered “absolutely no new actions to cut climate emissions.”
Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said: “Today we face a climate emergency. Scotland’s children are striking for their future. The best scientific evidence is that we have 18 months to put in place radical action to turn round climate emissions.
“Yet 36 months have been spent on a draft transport strategy which has absolutely no new actions to cut climate emissions.
“Transport is the largest source of Scotland’s emissions, which continue to rise and nothing has been done to reduce them in 30 years. Road traffic is the main problem, yet Scotland’s Transport Strategy sets out no new concrete measures to manage demand beyond a proposal to ‘start a conversation’.
The strategy was launched by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson at an event in Perth.
Commenting on the publication of the strategy Matheson said: “I’m delighted to present to you our new draft National Transport Strategy, which sets out an ambitious and compelling vision for our transport system for the next 20 years, one that protects our climate and improves lives.
"This draft strategy advocates a vision for Scotland’s transport system that creates great places – a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system which promotes prosperity, health and fairness for all of our citizens."
At the same event, Matheson also announced extra funding for infrastructure projects, including £22m for a revamp of Edinburgh’s George Street.
COSLA urged members of public to make their concerns about climate and other issues known by taking part in the consultation.
Speaking on the National Transport Strategy President Councillor Alison Evison said: “COSLA has worked with the Scottish Government on the development of the new National Transport Strategy.
“Whilst we support its commitment to protect our climate and improve lives, we also recognise that more work will be required if we are to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system.
“We would therefore encourage all those with an interest in the future of our transport system to have their say as part of the consultation."