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ADT and Climate Change Bills will show Government’s true intentions on transport and climate change

Published 25 September 2017 by Transform Scotland

Two important consultations which will determine Scotland’s action on climate change have recently come to a close.

The Air Departure Tax Bill – which sets out proposals to cut aviation tax – and the Climate Change Bill – setting out proposals on long term carbon reduction targets – will both have a significant impact on Scotland’s action on climate change, and potentially huge impacts for transport in Scotland.

Air Departure Tax Bill
In our response to the ADT Bill, Transform Scotland re-iterated objections to the proposals to cut aviation tax on environmental, economic and social grounds. Aviation is the most carbon-intensive form of transport and emissions from planes have risen by more than 80% since 1990. With transport now the largest source of emissions in Scotland and no action having been taken to reduce overall transport emissions, cutting ADT in unjustifiable on environmental grounds. There is next to no evidence to suggest that cutting ADT will result in economic gain, and will lose the Scottish Government around £300 million a year if ADT is abolished. Furthermore, a cut to ADT would be of no benefit of the half of the UK population who do not fly in any given year, and would benefit wealthy frequent flyers significantly more than those on low incomes.

To read our full response to the ADT Bill consultation, please see here.

The outcome of the ADT Bill consultation is expected to be revealed before the end of the year.

Climate Change Bill

In 2009, the Scottish Government introduced then-world leading climate legislation which committed Scotland to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels). The Scottish Government proposes a new target in the new Climate Change Bill of a 90% by 2050.  Transform Scotland joined other organisations across Scotland in calling for a stronger target of a 100% reduction to be made by 2050. Given the urgency of the situation with climate change, and Scotland’s ideal position to make serious carbon reductions, the Government needs to set a 100% reduction target. Chief among the priorities of the Climate Change Bill should be setting strong targets for reducing emissions from transport, which continues to hold back making serious reductions to emissions. Our recommendations for the Climate Change Bill were:

  • All parts of the transport sector to have specific plans to reduce their emissions. This should include the most polluting form of transport, aviation, which has been allowed to grow in an uncontrolled fashion
  • The Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan to reflect the Government’s stated aim to achieve a modal shift to sustainable modes of transport
  • The Scottish Budget to be aligned with the Climate Change Plans and carbon reduction targets

The final version of the Climate Change Bill is expected to be put to parliament in 2018.

To read our response in full, please see here.


Commenting on the ADT Bill and the Climate Change Bill, Jamie Wylie, Policy and Communications Officer, said:

The outcome of these two Bills will be a true test of how serious the Scottish Government is about tackling climate change and delivering sustainable, low carbon transport in Scotland. Aviation has so far got away without having to reduce carbon emissions, and with action on climate change more urgent than ever, the Government simply cannot afford to make the most polluting form of transport even cheaper. Instead of giving another tax cut to the aviation industry, the Government should be investing in reliable, affordable and fast public transport to cut emissions, tackle inequalities and boost sustainable economic growth.

“Scotland was a real world leader by introducing the Climate Change Act in 2009, but the Government now needs to up their game to ensure that Scotland doesn’t get left behind in the transition to a low carbon economy. By tackling emissions from transport, which now have only reduced by 2% since 1990, the Government can meet a 100% reduction by 2050. This would set a real example to the rest of the world that Scotland is giving climate change the serious attention it deserves.”