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by Liam Kirkaldy
21 January 2016
Scottish Government transport policy “killing people and trashing the climate”, says Friends of the Earth Scotland

Scottish Government transport policy “killing people and trashing the climate”, says Friends of the Earth Scotland

Scottish Government transport policies are “killing people and trashing the climate”, according to Friends of the Earth Scotland.

While new figures show carbon dioxide equivalent emitted by transport fell between 2006-14, the proportion of people using cars increased.

The proportion of people walking to work fell from 13.8 per cent in 2006 to 12.9 per cent in 2014.


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Bus use also fell, with the proportion using buses as their usual mode of transport dropping from 11.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent.

In contrast, car use increased, rising from 66.8 per cent in 2006 to 67.7 per cent in 2014.

But the proportion of journeys made by train rose, increasing from 3.6 per cent in 2006 to 4.2 per cent in 2014.

Meanwhile Carbon Dioxide equivalent emitted by transport fell from 14.5 MtCo2e in 2006 to 12.9 MtCo2e in 2014.

Transport minister Derek Mackay today launched the Government’s new transport strategy, describing the figures for 2006-14 as “good news”.

He said: “Since 2006 we have made real progress, despite unforeseen circumstances such as a major financial crisis and recession, and we have invested heavily in transport infrastructure, helping to mitigate the recession’s effects by improving connectivity by land, sea and air."

He added: “The Scottish Government has committed £5bn to transforming Scotland’s rail network, including £475m for the largest-ever train improvement programme seen in Scotland. This will see 10 per cent more trains for the ScotRail fleet, providing 23 per cent extra seats for passengers, and mean that 90 per cent of all Scotland’s trains will either be new or fully refurbished by 2019.”

But Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon criticised the Government’s approach, questioning why funding for motorways and trunk roads be twenty times higher than walking and cycling.

He said: “These disappointing figures show that the Scottish Government is idling on the transport changes the country needs.  Our current transport policies are killing people and trashing the climate. 

“There are more cars on the road, more miles being driven and a higher proportion of journeys to work being made by car.  Put simply, we’re going in the wrong direction. The majority of our air pollution is coming from traffic, leading to the public health crisis whereby 2000 lives are lost each year.”

Although transport emissions have fallen since 2006, the drop has been slower than other sources in Scotland, meaning the proportion of emissions coming from transport has risen from 20.6 per cent to 24.4 per cent.

Dixon said: “A quarter of all our climate emissions are coming from our transport system – a figure that has remained largely unchanged in the last decade while other sectors have reduced emissions.”

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