Workplace parking levy: Public needs to walk the walk on climate change, not just talk the talk – Scotsman comment

The workplace parking levy is a “hated” tax on motorists, say the Conservatives. Not so, says the SNP, it’s a “vitally important” means to reduce car journeys in the fight against climate change.

But whether this scheme is a fair and effective way of reducing carbon emissions or not, one thing should be clear: if we take climate change as seriously as we should, then our lives are going to have to change.

Some of those changes will be disruptive to our daily lives, potentially causing irritation and annoyance, and, indeed, costing us money.

It is worth noting that many of the changes resulting from the new Industrial Revolution, in which electricity is replacing fossil fuels, will have positive effects, such as cleaner, healthier air and reduced energy costs.

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But there is a need to take the rough with the smooth. Governments are sometimes accused of talking the talk about climate change, but failing to walk the walk. The public needs to avoid succumbing to the same temptation, calling for action on climate change and then complaining bitterly about any action that affects us in ways we don't like.

What we can do is offer constructive criticism. The workplace parking levy is designed to persuade people to travel more by public transport.

But if the trains are not running and the buses are consistently late, that’s going to cause a real problem and may be a better source for public fury than the levy.

The workplace parking levy is designed to reduce the number of car journeys in Scotland (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

As for the Scottish Government, when seeking to cut carbon emissions, it would do well to avoid deploying a stick without first ensuring the availability of a carrot.


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