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Fourth year in a row road traffic emissions rise

Published 17 December 2019 by Transform Scotland

The Committee on Climate Change has today published the Reducing emissions in Scotland – 2019 Progress Report to Parliament. The report concludes that unless emission reductions are delivered ‘economy-wide’ then Scotland is at serious risk of missing more targets. While introducing the 2045 net-zero target is welcome, the Scottish Government must now take action that matches the ambition.

There are three disappointing but unsurprising conclusions we can draw from this report on transport in Scotland:

  • That for the fourth year in a row there has been an increase in emissions from surface transport. The 3% rise has been driven by a 2% rise in emissions from cars, 7% from vans, and 4% from HGVs (see figure below). Coupled with the 6% rise in emissions from aviation, we have seen that increases in emissions are driven by the most unsustainable transport modes.
  • People using bus as their main method of transport to work is down 2.9% over the previous year. The continued decline in bus patronage is a significant blow for the aim of zero-carbon city centres by 2030.
  • There has been “no significant behavioural shift away from cars towards public transport, walking and cycling in Scotland in the last decade.”

Matt McDonald, Spokesperson for Transform Scotland said:

“It is disheartening to see the continued failure to reduce emissions in transport in Scotland. As another year goes by with transport emissions rising the Scottish Government must stop spending money building roads, and start putting significant investment into sustainable transport.”

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