We need Scotland to meet its legal responsibilities to cut air pollution and climate change emissions
We want to see opportunities taken for swift cuts in emissions
It’s not acceptable that people are still being killed in Scotland because air pollution from traffic remains too high. Scotland’s towns and cities have a responsibility to meet the air quality targets laid down in EU law. But statutory European limits for key pollutants continue to be exceeded across Scotland’s four largest cities. The situation – primarily caused by road transport – is in some cases getting worse rather than better.
Everyone recognises that climate change emissions must be reduced if Scotland, and the rest of the world, is not to see massive environmental and social damage. With transport being responsible for a quarter of all emissions, it is imperative for the Scottish transport sector play a key role in delivering reductions. The Scottish Parliament has passed a strong climate change act; unfortunately, there remains no systematic programme of action to make cuts in transport emissions on the necessary scale, with emission levels remaining as high as they were 25 years ago. It’s time for the talk about climate change to stop, and for some real and immediate action instead.
Local Authorities must deliver Low Emission Zones in order to deliver Clean Air
Local Authorities should establish Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in areas with long-standing air pollution problems in order to take action to stop human health being harmed and reduce deaths. The Scottish Government, as part of its forthcoming Low Emissions Strategy, should provide financial incentives to Local Authorities by assisting with the setup costs of LEZs.
Scotland’s Public Sector should lead the way in moving to Low Carbon Vehicles
Scotland should become a leader in cutting emissions from road transport by getting its vast public sector to shift to a significantly greener vehicle fleet. Scotland’s Public Bodies should be required to have an average fleet emissions of less than 95g/km by 2020 through both procurement of lower-emission vehicles and better maintenance of existing fleet vehicles in order to maximise their fuel efficiency. The Scottish Public Sector needs to provide a role model in the uptake of low emission vehicles.
All Scottish Organisations need Travel Policies that Rule Out Domestic Air Travel
We want all Scottish organisations (in the public, private and voluntary sectors) to put in place robust travel policies that rule out air travel, except in exceptional circumstances, for trips within mainland Britain. For trips between the Scottish Central Belt and London, rail emits a quarter of the emissions from equivalent journeys by plane (or by car). Rail offers significant productivity benefits over air as it offers a high-quality environment for working while on the move. Some organisations are of course going even further and avoiding travelling at all through the use of videoconferencing and other new technologies.