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National disgrace that Scottish Parliament debates new road-building days after COP26

Published 17 November 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has published the parliamentary briefing issued in advance of this afternoon’s Scottish Parliament debate on new road-building promoted by the Scottish Conservatives.

Transform director Colin Howden said:

“It’s only days since the end of a global climate summit where it was acknowledged that all countries — including Scotland — need to do more to cut climate emissions. So is disgraceful that the first act of the Scottish Parliament on transport following COP26 is to debate increased high-carbon road-building.

“Transport is Scotland’s largest source of emissions, and the area where no progress is being made in cutting emissions. The Scottish Parliament itself argued earlier this year that the Scottish Government needs to take ‘urgent action’ to tackle emissions. The last thing we need is a return to the failed transport policies that have got us into the Climate Emergency in the first place.”

The briefing makes the following key points:

  • Transport is Scotland’s largest source of climate change emissions. Scotland has failed for thirty years to make any progress in cutting climate emissions from transport.
  • It has been for decades unequivocally established that new road-building will generate additional traffic, and, resulting from this, increased climate emissions.
  • The Scottish Government’s capital expenditure plans have for the past decade strongly favoured new road-building over investment in sustainable transport, and continue to prioritise road-building.
  • Transform Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to reduce road traffic levels by 20% by 2030 as part of its Climate Change Plan update. Delivering on this commitment will require the “urgent action” demanded by the Parliament’s Committees in their response to the Climate Plan.1 Prioritising new road- building is in direct opposition to the course of action recommended by the Parliament’s Committees.
  • Transform Scotland congratulates the Scottish Government on its decision to review the A96 dualling on climate change grounds. However, we consider that this decision does not go far enough to correct Scotland’s transport investment plans in the direction of sustainable transport and reduced emissions.
  • Scotland has just hosted COP26 where it was acknowledged that all countries — including Scotland — need to do more to cut climate emissions. So it is disgraceful that the first act of the Scottish Parliament on transport following COP26 is to debate increased high-carbon road-building.