Commenting on the Scottish Programme for Government, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said:

“This year’s Programme for Government confirms the promises from the SNP election manifesto and the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party, but gives disappointingly little further detail on timescales or processes.”

Just Transition

“The £500m Just Transition Fund for the North East will be spread over ten years, and the Programme for Government does not make it clear what the fund will be spent on , who will get the money or who will sign off the cheques. A fund to support the North East is important, however there is no indication of how Just Transition will be funded elsewhere.

“The continued silence on the commitment to establish a Public Energy Company remains deeply concerning. This company should be driving change by creating new renewables projects, prioritising domestic supply chains and providing affordable energy.

”It is welcome that the Scottish Government has spelled out that Just Transition sector plans will be developed, and that the energy sector will be the first of these, next year, but there is still little detail on the process for how these will be developed and crucially who will be at the table.”

Oil and Gas

“While the Programme for Government acknowledges that ‘unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is incompatible with our climate obligations’ and that ‘the UK cannot continue with unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met’, it is therefore disappointing that there are no commitments to phase out oil and gas extraction.

“There is no further detail on who will do what to deliver on the promised review of North Sea oil and gas in relation to climate targets. By rights it should start from the International Energy Agency’s recent conclusion that no new developments should even be considered.  If this review is done properly it surely cannot fail to conclude that we need to phase out oil and gas extraction very rapidly. Until then the Scottish Government should take a precautionary approach and oppose any new oil and gas developments.”

 Energy

“Strong ambitions to expand renewable energy are welcome but it looks like we’ll be waiting even longer for the already long-awaited Energy Strategy, a key document that should shape Scotland’s future and drive the Just Transition away from oil and gas.”

Transport

“The long-term spending plans for walking, wheeling and cycling are the level of ambition we need but the Programme for Government doesn’t make clear how much will be spent in the coming year. Transport is our biggest emitting sector in Scotland, and if we want to tackle the climate emergency, our move to a more sustainable transport system needs to start now, not in 2025.

“On the commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030, we are still yet to see any concrete plans. This will only be achieved through measures like giving councils powers to block unsustainable developments, such as drive-through coffee shops and housing that is dependent on car travel.

“It’s good to see progress on the Fair Fares Review as everyone in Scotland – particularly those reliant on our patchy bus network or inter-city rail travel – can tell you that public transport is too expensive. In order to rapidly decarbonise our transport system, we need to make public transport clean and affordable.”

“The document confirms that Low Emission Zones which were promised in 2017 will be live in Scotland from June 2022, although won’t actually restrict any polluting vehicles until 2023 in Glasgow and the following year for Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.”

Hydrogen from Gas & Carbon Capture and Storage

“The Scottish Government must not be fooled by the false solutions and false promises of the fossil fuel industry who are demanding public money for high risk technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage or fossil-fuelled hydrogen.

“CCS is a risky and expensive technology that locks us into fossil fuels and distracts from climate solutions that we know work. The Scottish Government’s commitment to these technologies is totally at odds with the document’s promise that CCS and hydrogen must not be used to justify unsustainable levels of oil and gas extraction, which is exactly why the fossil fuel industry is so keen on them. The Scottish Government must stop throwing money at the fossil fuel companies who are speeding us towards climate breakdown.”

Plastic & Circular Economy

The previous Circular Economy Bill proposals are to be strengthened, but a final Act is some time off ‘later in this Parliamentary session.’

“When the Scottish Government consulted previously there was strong support for meaningful targets on resource use in a Circular Economy Bill and this delay is frustrating but gives the opportunity to significantly strengthen the original proposals.

“It is disappointing that further detail on the promised review of the role of incineration in managing waste and resources in Scotland are still to come.  At the least, we need to put new incineration proposals on hold until this review is complete.”


Notes to Editors

1. Programme for Government in Scotland is available at
https://www.gov.scot/publications/fairer-greener-scotland-programme-government-2021-22/pages/2/

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe.scot