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Regional plans needed to curb countryside carbon in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
Farming / iStock-118187017

The Scottish Government has been urged to facilitate regional land-use plans to maximise the countryside’s role in cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

The initiative was one of a dozen proposed by a coalition of environmental campaigners, business interests and academics who are demanding urgent and radical action to reduce the risk of climate change.

Among other key proposals are:

  • four new green low-carbon city region deals;
  • a ban on all petrol and diesel vehicles in city centres by 2030;
  • enhanced building standards to deliver zero-carbon homes and buildings;
  • the acceleration of Scotland’s energy efficiency retrofit scheme so that almost all homes and buildings are zero-carbon by 2045;
  • the completion of plans to roll out enough renewable power capacity to ensure that the country has net-zero carbon emissions;
  • establishing a £100 million fund to decarbonise farming; and
  • dedicating the Scottish National Investment Bank to deliver funding to deal with the climate emergency.

The 12-point strategy also called on ministers to make sure that the £11 billion spent by the administration on goods and services is targeted at those which actively reduced carbon emissions.

Claire Mack, chief executive at trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “We are already witnessing the effects of climate change, and now is the moment when we must accelerate our response if we are to avoid the worst effects and secure the many social and economic benefits of moving to a climate-neutral economy.  

“This is the time for us all to support strong changes to policy and programmes in response to the climate emergency, and this report sets out our initial recommendations for the Scottish government’s leadership role.”

Behind these proposals is the Climate Emergency Response Group. Its membership includes Edinburgh University, the Energy Saving Trust, landowners’ organisation Scottish Land & Estates, WWF Scotland, Sustrans, NHS National Services Scotland, and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

The administration is shortly expected to spell out its detailed proposals for meeting its new goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

Image credit | iStock