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Infrastructure Investment Plan fails to act on Climate Emergency

Published 24 September 2020 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has published its initial views on the Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Transform director Colin Howden said:

“There are lots of warm words in the Plan about ‘Green Recovery’, ‘Green Jobs’, and ‘Net Zero Carbon Economy’. But as far as we can see there’s not a single new penny in the Plan for low-carbon, sustainable transport. This is despite transport being the largest source of carbon emissions in Scotland, and in the context of the Scottish Government’s own commitment to take action on the Climate Emergency.

“There appears to be no new money for active and public transport. Everything in the Plan (e.g. £500m for active travel, £495m for buses, £3.8bn for rail) is for existing commitments.

Hey Climate Strikers: Next time a Scottish politician says they’re committed to tackling climate change, ask them why they support billions of pounds on new roads as the top transport investment priority.

“All the same road building projects remain: £6 billion on the A9 and A96 alone, and plenty more in the City Deals, plus  potentially billions of pounds more on the incompetent ‘A83 Options’ consultation launched yesterday. And yet despite the commitment to tackling the Climate Emergency, the Cabinet Secretary seemed happy to talk up the likelihood of even more roads spending in answer to questions in the Chamber. Here, the Scottish Ministers have clearly rejected the expert advice on road infrastructure received from the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland, the UK Climate Change Commission and the Just Transition Commission.

“Michael Matheson seems happy to promote new roads, but where are the new rail projects? The Plan contains reference to the rail decarbonisation plan, but sets out precisely no action to implement the rail decarbonisation plan. And a year on from the commitment to invest £500m in bus priority measures, still absolutely no action has been taken.

“I’ve no doubt that the more credulous out there may be taken in by commitments to assessing future transport investment on the grounds of climate change. But this is irrelevant. We need to see investment prioritised on climate change grounds now. When the Global Climate Strike returns tomorrow, we hope the strikers are asking the Scottish Parliamentarians still demanding new roads why they are not instead demanding investment in sustainable transport.”