Vision of low-carbon society requires a bigger focus on active travel

cyclists look over Loch Leven
23 January 2017

We have welcomed the Scottish Government’s proposals to achieve 66% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by Scotland, announced on Thursday 19 January. 

The draft climate change plan sets out the country’s ambitious transition to a low-carbon economy for the next 15 years, with some of the main goals including “full-decarbonisation” (that is the reduction in carbon intensity) of the electricity sector and the number of ultra-low emission new cars and vans registered in Scotland annually to hit 40%.

What do we think?

We support many proposals outlined in the draft plan, such as low emission zones in cities, measures to reduce congestion while increasing public transport use, and an increase in infrastructure for electric vehicles. However, we’d like to see more detailed proposals on active travel and sustainable transport.

John Lauder, our director for Sustrans in Scotland said:

“We welcome the vision and ambition for a low carbon Scotland contained in the draft climate change plan.

“It is clear however that in order to achieve the plan’s ambition, a wide-ranging set of actions is required. These must be supported by sustained multiannual funding.

“Transport is now Scotland’s biggest source of emissions and that while almost all other sectors have achieved some decrease in emissions, the decrease in emissions in transport since 1990 has been highlighted in the report as just ‘marginal’.

"In the context of the Scottish Government’s plans in regards to road building and reduction of, it will be of even more critical importance to have targeted measures, including measures on active travel.

“We would prefer to see more detailed proposals on active travel and sustainable transport. In addition to the achievement of emissions reductions, active travel gives a significant opportunity for wide-reaching co-benefits across a whole spectrum of policy areas, through behaviour change to reduce sedentary lifestyles and the reduction of air and noise pollution. 

“The best way to achieve active travel objectives within the Climate Change Plan is to increase funding to the Cycling Action Plan 3 (CAPS 2017) and the National Walking Strategy."  

For all media enquiries please contact: Claire Daly, Policy And Communications Manager for Sustrans Scotland, [email protected] or call 0786 8701678