Scottish pressure group calls for an end to government’s road building plan

Environmental pressure group Transform Scotland is calling for an end to the Scottish Government’s road building plans, saying that despite promises that they will tackle the Climate Emergency, Scottish Ministers intend to nearly double their spending on new roads over the next decade.

Its new report says these plans are despite transport being the largest source of climate change emissions, and the area where there has been no progress in reducing emissions for 30 years. Transform Scotland’s report after UN IPCC sets out the scale of the effort it said is needed to head off dangerous global climate instability.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said, “It’s now time for the Scottish Government to call a halt to its out-of-control road-building programme. Despite there being no progress in cutting climate emissions from the transport sector in thirty years, the Scottish Ministers’ capital investment plans for transport are horribly skewed towards new climate-trashing roads. We urgently need to switch investment from high-carbon roads into zero-emission public transport and active travel.

“The case for new roads was built on forecasts of unceasing growth in road traffic. But this is now an outdated and unsustainable approach. In order to meet its climate targets, the Scottish Government has committed to reducing road traffic levels by 20% over the next decade. The Scottish Ministers need to be sending Transport Scotland’s army of roads engineers for retraining so they are instead better equipped to deliver low-carbon infrastructure.

“There have been some signs of movement from the Scottish Government. At a Transform event in April, the Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson promised that ‘The days of big road development projects are coming to an end’. Well, we need to see the Scottish Ministers follow through on this and set out exactly which roads they’re going to abandon. It would be a national embarrassment for the Scottish Ministers to fail to show leadership in this area in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow.”

The report is available here.

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