Climate change: Scotland scraps 2030 legal climate target, but sets out policy proposals

Scotland’s 2030 climate target will be scrapped through legislation, the SNP’ Net Zero Secretary has confirmed.

SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan has confirmed Scotland’s landmark 2030 climate target will be scrapped - but has announced a swathe of policies to get progress back on track.

Ms McAllan said her government will draw up a “minor legislative amendment” to the Climate Change Act in order to “pave the way for continued action” on cutting emissions.

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The decision comes after the independent Climate Change Committee warned last month that the target cannot be met - while ministers have a legal duty to produce a now-delayed updated climate change plan that sets a pathway towards the 2030 target.

SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan (Photo:Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan (Photo:Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan (Photo:Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Confirming the 2030 target to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75 per cent will be scrapped, Ms McAllan insisted that Scotland’s 2045 net zero target remains intact.

She said: “We must now act to chart a course to 2045 at a pace and a scale that is feasible, fair and just.

“Working with parliament on a timetable, the Scottish Government will bring forward expedited legislation to address matters raised by the CCC and ensure our legislative framework better reflects the reality of long-term climate policy-making.

“The narrowly-drawn bill will retain our commitment to 2045 alongside annual reporting on progress whilst introducing a target approach based on five yearly carbon budgets.”

Ms McAllan said there can be “no doubt about the seriousness that this government treats the climate and nature crises” and blamed restrictions and a lack of funding from the UK government for forcing Scotland to act “with one hand tied behind our back”.

The Scottish Government's package of actions include a focus on cutting emissions in transport and agriculture and land use.

The policies include a “publication of a routemap to a 20 per cent reduction in car km by autumn 2024 which includes a timeline for implementing demand management”.

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Ms McAllan also set out that “by the end of 2024, we will publish a new routemap for the delivery of approximately 24,000 additional charge points by 2030” to ramp up a switch to electric vehicles.

There will also be measures drawn up to “accelerate the switch” from petrol and diesel vans and “a new national integrated ticketing system for public transport in Scotland”.

Despite facing a near 10 per cent cut in capital budgets from Westminster, Ms McAllan will set out her infrastructure delivery plan which will “align with the sustainable mode and investment hierarchies”.

In accordance with the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens, “new roads projects will normally only be taken forward where they reduce the maintenance backlog, address road safety concerns or adapt the network to deal with the impacts of climate change or benefit communities such as bypassing settlements”.

There are also plans to finally develop a devolved airport departure tax (ADT) alongside ramping up production of sustainable aviation fuel.

The Scottish Government said it “will set out the high-level principles of ADT, including how it will support emissions reductions and will proceed with more detailed policy development as soon as possible”.