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20% traffic reduction target will be missed without demand management

Published 27 January 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform director, Colin Howden, today gave oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on the updated Climate Change Plan. Colin was joined by, amongst others, Sustrans Scotland’s director John Lauder and Professor Jillian Anable from the University of Leeds in front of the Committee.

One of the most important aspects of the Plan, the target to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030, was discussed. There was broad agreement by the witnesses that this target would not be achieved unless accompanied by new road traffic demand management measures.

Colin also made the point that the Plan does not go far enough on aviation, noting that decarbonising flights in the Highlands and Islands only accounts for a small proportion (perhaps 5%) of total aviation emissions in Scotland. One of the six recommendations Transform made in our written response to the Committee was: ‘The Plan should make provision for all Scottish Public Bodies to rule out air travel, except in exceptional circumstances.’ 

Our other recommendations were:

  1. The Plan should be amended so that the transport sector at least meets its share (56%) of the emissions reduction required by 2032.
  2. The Scottish Parliament should scrutinise the Scottish Government’s plans for implementing its 20% traffic reduction target.
  3. The Plan should set out what traffic demand management measures Transport Scotland will be responsible for.
  4. The Plan should bring forward a moratorium and review of all road-building projects, in line with advice received from the Infrastructure Commission, The Just Transition Commission, The Climate Change Committee and others.
  5. The Plan should include a wider range of progress indicators, including on active travel, rail freight and reduction in short-haul aviation.

You can view the full evidence session here, and read our written evidence to the Committee here.