• Kenneth Gibson MSP

Decarbonising the Transport Sector


Transport Scotland has published a new report from the low carbon consultancy Element Energy on decarbonising the transport sector.

The report provides an independent assessment of what policy outcomes are required in order for the transport sector to make the transition to net zero.

The report is clear that transformational change in individual and business behaviour and travel choices will be required alongside the pursuit of continued technological innovation. At the same time, the report is guided by the principle of a just transition, meaning that everyone has a role to play and no one can be left behind in the fair transition to a net zero society. The proposed recommendations contained within the report reflect that approach.

Key highlights include:

  • A clear message that substantial behaviour change is required on car travel, irrespective of whether cars are electric or otherwise, underpinning the SNP Government’s commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.

  • Findings which align with the government policy in areas such as ending the sale of fossil fuel cars and vans by 2030, decarbonising the rail network by 2035, and ending the sale of fossil fuel heavy vehicles by 2035.

  • Tensions in policy approaches, such as aviation, where the report concludes a significant reduction in demand is needed.

  • A recommendation that vehicle demand caused by the decreasing cost of electric fuels must be mitigated through policy, such as road user charging; that around 25% of freight goods must be moved by road must be shifted to rail and ships by 2030; and ending the sale of fossil fuel powered ships with retrofitting of existing ship powertrains from the early to mid-2030s.

Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “The SNP Government has already made a world-leading commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled nationally by 20% by 2030 and is in the process of implementing free bus travel for under 22’s and a near tripling of the active travel budget. “Later this year, a route-map will be published outlining further measures to achieve this reduction target, assuming the COVID-19 pandemic has moved to a phase to allow this.” Read the full publication by Element Energy here. ENDS