Scotland to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032

An electric car at a charging station. Picture: John Devlin
An electric car at a charging station. Picture: John Devlin
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Nicola Sturgeon’s programme for government has been hailed as “ambitious and progressive” by environmental groups.

The First Minister announced plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, and “massively” expand electric car charging points.

She also revealed a target to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, and the creation of low emissions zones in Scotland’s four largest cities by 2020.

The move will see Scotland replicate cities and countries which have announced similar plans, including Madrid and France.

The UK Government envisages a plan for cars and vans on their roads to be zero emission by 2050, with the phasing out to begin a decade earlier.

Gina Hanrahan of WWF Scotland welcomed plans to phase out new fossil fuel cars and vans by 2032, eight years before the rest of the UK, and to expand electric charging infrastructure between now and 2022 in both rural and urban areas.

She said: “The First Minister has set out an ambitious, progressive and green Programme for Government, which puts Scotland’s low carbon economy in the driving seat.

“Decarbonising our transport sector in fifteen years will create new jobs, cut emissions and clean up our polluted air. This announcement will help accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and sets us up to lead the technologies of the future.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “The Scottish Government has put improving and protecting the environment at the heart of their legislative and policy programme.

“Promises here will reduce climate change emissions, save people from air pollution and help Scotland become a leading example of a low carbon country.”

Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: “The phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 is a good aim but we need a clear commitment to end their use. Greens have long argued for action on air pollution, and the commitment to have low emissions zones in four cities by 2020 rather than the single zone the government originally proposed is modest progress.”