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Report: Scottish society must change behaviour to meet climate targets

Words: Laura Edgar
Wind energy / Shutterstock_307407380

More detailed planning policy information is required in the Draft Energy Strategy and behavioural change across Scottish society is needed if the country is to satisfy its climate change targets, according to a report.

The Local Government and Communities Committee report also says further detail is required on how the Scottish Government could drive this behaviour change in communities where climate change rates as a lower priority.

The report follows the publication of the Scottish Government’s blueprint for transitioning from oil and gas dependency towards a low-carbon economy by 2050.

The blueprint says there is a major role for onshore wind and highlights a renewed focus on energy efficiency.

To meet the emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the committee says an ambitious approach and a behavioural change across Scottish society is needed. Local government will be a “key player” in delivering these targets.

The committee agrees with witnesses that a lack of information on specific policies in relation to planning makes it “difficult to undertake detailed scrutiny in this area”. The committee adds, though, that it is aware that this detail may be brought forward following the outcome of the consultation on the planning process.

Therefore, the committee requests that the Scottish Government should bring forward more detailed policy information at the earliest opportunity.

The committee makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • The committee is disappointed in the lack of information in the plan on community involvement in the planning process and says this should be rectified in the final version of the plan.
  • The final version of the draft plan should set out how the Scottish Government would use the planning system to encourage the development of brownfield sites and protect green spaces.
  • The Scottish Government should review the time available for parliamentary scrutiny and that all related strategic documents should be published alongside the draft Climate Change Plan to allow for more effective scrutiny.
  • Further information is required on how the Scottish Government will work with and resource local authorities in their delivery of the plan.
  • More specific information is needed on how the public sector will be adequately equipped to contribute to the target.

Three other committees also reviewed the plan: the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform; Rural Economy and Connectivity; and Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee raises concerns about the approach taken to tackle emission across all sectors. For example, it notes that transport accounts for 28 per cent of harmful emissions yet it has weaker targets in comparison with other sectors in Scotland.

The Local Government and Communities Committee’s report can be found here.

More information on what the other committees reported can be found here.

RTPI Scotland's response to the report can be read here.

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