SNP's backtrack on net zero labelled latest 'failure' as Scotland forced to rethink electric vehicle strategy

SNP's backtrack on net zero labelled latest 'failure' as Scotland forced to rethink electric vehicle strategy

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Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 19/04/2024

- 12:10

Updated: 19/04/2024

- 13:14

Holyrood has warned that the UK is 'substantially off track' for its climate goals

The Scottish Government has announced its intention to scrap major climate goals and instead focus on electric vehicles and the rollout of EV chargepoints.

Scotland has remained steadfast in its aim to reach net zero emissions by 2045, with the Government unveiling new plans to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles.

The backslide in its commitment to net zero follows warnings from Scotland that the UK is already “substantially off track” to reach milestone climate goals.

As part of the new plans, Holyrood said it will be adding 24,000 chargepoints across Scotland by the end of the decade to help push more people into buying electric cars.

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Public electric vehicle charging station

Scotland may have 30,000 chargers by the end of the decade


The latest data from Zapmap found that Scotland currently has over 5,000 charging devices, making it the region with the third most chargers.

The nation falls behind the South East of England with 7,119 and Greater London with almost 20,000 chargers.

Net Zero Secretary Màiri McAllan, said: “We must acknowledge that we do so in difficult circumstances.

“The Climate Change Committee is clear that the UK is already substantially off track for 2030 and achieving future UK carbon budgets will require sustained increase in the pace and breadth of decarbonisation across most major sectors. Indeed, we do see climate backtracking at UK level.

“In this challenging context of cuts and UK backtracking, we accept the CCCs recent re-articulation that this Parliament’s interim 2030 target is out of reach.

“We must now act to chart a course to 2045 at a pace and scale that is feasible, fair and just.”

Holyrood also detailed how it will support the transition away from petrol and diesel vans.

McAllan explained that the Government will work with businesses including the largest companies to develop plans to accelerate the switch to zero emission technologies and more sustainable modes.

Patrick Harvie, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights, added that while Scotland is making progress it still has a long way to go.

He stated: “We will now carry on working with stakeholders and communities to ensure progress is delivered fairly and in the right way, recognising the different needs of rural, island and urban areas.”

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, warned that the latest setback in a “growing list of failed green policies”.

She explained: “The repeated inability to meet its own emissions and green jobs targets is inextricably linked. Government ministers need a reality check.


Electric car charging

Scotland will roll out 24,000 more charging stations by 2030


“The fact is you can’t meet emissions targets unless there is a coherent energy strategy in place and Government ministers at Holyrood and Westminster have abysmally failed to deliver that.”

Department for Transport statistics found that at the end of March 2023, 1.55 million Scottish vehicles were petrol, 1.3 million were diesel, 120,000 hybrid, and only 46,300 were fully electric.

Despite the UK being off-track for its net zero goals, a recent Geotab report found that in comparison to other European countries, the nation is further ahead in terms of its progress to net zero.

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