SNP government to set target cutting car use ‘by 20% by end of decade’

Other key pledges to be announced include decarbonising the heating of a million homes by 2030 and developing Scotland’s hydrogen sector.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

The next SNP government would plan to set a target to cut car use by 20% by the end of the decade, Nicola Sturgeon is to announce.

Among the policies “designed to propel Scotland toward becoming a net zero society”, one key pledge is to reduce the use of cars, measured as “car kilometres”, by 20% by 2030.

There would also be a £500 million investment to improve bus infrastructure and tackle congestion, a £120 million investment in Zero Emission Buses, and work to decarbonise railways by 2035 – with ScotRail to move to Scottish Government ownership next year.

It comes as Scotland also prepares to host the postponed Cop26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

During a visit to Scottish Power’s Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire, Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “In the midst of all the upheaval in our lives over the last year, the climate emergency hasn’t gone away – if anything, the need to take action becomes more pressing with every day that passes.

“The eyes of the world will be on Scotland later this year as Glasgow hosts the Cop26 summit, so we must seize the moment and show leadership in helping bring about real global change.

“If re-elected, an SNP government will ramp up our efforts to become a net zero nation by 2045 – with significant and wide-ranging investments which will not only reduce our emissions, but will significantly improve our quality of life.

“In government, the SNP has invested enormously in unlocking Scotland’s renewable energy potential – and last year more than 97% of our electricity demand was met from renewable sources.

“By 2030 we aim to generate 50% of Scotland’s overall energy consumption from renewable sources, and by 2050 we aim to have decarbonised our energy system almost completely.”

Other key pledges to be announced include decarbonising the heating of a million homes by 2030, developing Scotland’s hydrogen sector and increase new woodland creation targets by 50%.

Later on Friday, the First Minister is set to take part in a climate hustings hosted by young Scots along with other party leaders: Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar, Patrick Harvie and Willie Rennie.

During her visit to the windfarm, Ms Sturgeon will add: “As part of our journey to becoming a net zero nation, we are the first country in the UK to publish a Hydrogen Policy Statement that sets out how we can make the most of Scotland’s massive potential in this new sector.

“Scotland can become a world leading centre for the hydrogen economy – decarbonising our energy system and creating thousands of jobs.

“And we’ll build on Scotland’s strong track record of tree planting and peatland restoration, with a £250 million investment to support the restoration of 250,000 hectares of Scottish peatland by 2030.

“What we have learned in the pandemic is that, when we need to, society is able to come together to take radical action for the common good – as we head into the recovery from Covid, we must keep that spirit alive to build a sustainable recovery.

“By giving both votes to the SNP on May 6, the people of Scotland can elect a government which is absolutely committed to tackling the climate emergency and ensuring that the recovery from Covid is a sustainable one which will benefit future generations.”

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