Reacting to the publication of the Programme for Government, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

 

“It is quite right that the new Climate Bill is one of the early priorities of this government.  Nicola Sturgeon’s strong words on the need for action on climate change are very welcome.  The new Bill needs to increase Scotland’s ambition in light of the Paris climate agreement, set new targets for 2020 and beyond, and pave the way for every sector of the economy to deliver carbon savings.

 

“It is great news that the SNP have reaffirmed their manifesto commitment to deliver the first Low Emission Zone by 2018.  This is a vital tool in reducing the air pollution death toll in our cities and there are 200 of these zones across Europe.  We expect there will be tough competition between Scotland’s cities get the first Low Emission Zone.

 

“It is disappointing that the government plan to halve and eventually abolish Air Passenger Duty.  Their own figures show that reducing APD would increase climate change emissions, and all the other parties in the Parliament are opposed to reducing it.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

 

1) The Programme for Government was outlined to the Scottish Parliament by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and can be found here:  http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00505210.pdf

 

2) The Scottish Government guidance note on Low Emission Zones defines “Low Emission Zone” as “a geographically defined area where the most polluting vehicles are restricted, deterred or discouraged from access and use” which is set up using one of two possible legal routes: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Environment/waste-and-pollution/Pollution-1/16215/LEZ

 

3) Mortality statistics on air pollution from fine particles are found in Public Health England’s 2014 Report, “Estimating local mortality burdens associated with particulate air pollution”. http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607. The Scottish figures and local authority breakdowns are in Table 3 on page 20.

 

4) 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, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.

www.foe-scotland.org.uk